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wvumtnbkr
wvumtnbkr PowerDork
12/27/20 10:03 a.m.

So, what are you calling this engine in regards to your swap?

 

Whatever engine you say you are using, you need to use that engines intake  manifold in 2021.

 

Would this engine be identical to a vg33 of some type?  If not, you will need to claim the parts that are different.

 

Cool car.  Cool build!

MaxC
MaxC New Reader
12/27/20 2:34 p.m.
wvumtnbkr said:

So, what are you calling this engine in regards to your swap?

 

Whatever engine you say you are using, you need to use that engines intake  manifold in 2021.

 

Would this engine be identical to a vg33 of some type?  If not, you will need to claim the parts that are different.

 

Cool car.  Cool build!

Thanks dude! 

As far as the champ rules, I haven't done all the math yet. Right now they lump vpi in for all 200sx/sentra at 150... Which I think is an oversight. There's 3 s12 variations between 100-160 hp, and that's all the same vpi as 105 hp fwd sentras and b14 200sx's. I emailed champcar and asked for a value for this car specifically and they said that it's such a rare car and there's probably not going to be another one, that they'd allow me to use that 150 vpi.  So there's a lot of points to play with, but still only 14 gal. IMO the vpi should be a bit higher, but not as high as a 240sx which I think is 350 with 16 gal. Another problem is that the swap calculator does not include my car, so I don't even know what a swap would cost anyway. If a champ race comes to town, I'll have some stuff to figure out and may have to swap out certain parts to stay under 500. It shouldn't be a big deal though. For now I'm building to be compliant with lucky dog, and they don't sweat a lot of these details. 

I don't know when/if it'll race with champcar because they don't run any races in the Pacific Northwest anymore. I likely won't be traveling down to California for races either at least in the next couple years. Then may try thunderhill when the car is more dialed and the kids are older. 

So yeah I'm kinda mixing and matching parts to make this work. The cast truck exhaust manifolds won't fit, but the cast 200sx manifolds will. I'm going to use the stock 200sx intake and exhaust manifolds to make things easy. I could use the truck intake if I wanted to cut a large hole in the hood, but it's also a bit of an upgrade. But if I HAVE to spend points on the swapped engine to make it work, I also don't think it'll be a huge deal considering the already low value and the very small hp increase it gives (160 stock to 175 swap)... But I don't know for sure with the questionable vpi and non existent swap value LOL

wvumtnbkr
wvumtnbkr PowerDork
12/27/20 2:44 p.m.

Oh, I thought you were primarily racing champcar.

 

Nevermind then!

 

Rob R 

MaxC
MaxC New Reader
1/6/21 3:19 p.m.
wvumtnbkr said:

Oh, I thought you were primarily racing champcar.

Maybe someday I'll race both LDR and CC if CC returns to the PNW.  For now they don't show much interest in coming back, and LDR has been super great.

Got the engine block back from the machine shop.  The guy seemed super knowledgeable.  He said he felt bad for how long it took, so he decked the block surfaces slightly to remove the gasket material.. Awesome!! 

And replaced all the core plugs. 

The bad news is... My oil pan isn't done yet! I should have had this thing knocked out before the block was done... but it's taking me forever.  Doesn't help I've had next to no free time for the last month.  I did weld the tanks on. The inside of the pan still needs some grinding to clean up around the welds.  No idea how I'm going to clean this thing spotless before it gets assembled. 

My extremely "okay" welding skills:

Baffle box is done.  Needs to be welded in, and then I need to add baffles to the corners to keep oil within each chamber. 

Poor planning on how close these were going to be.  Clipped the ends so they wouldn't contact each other.  The sharpie shows where the openings in the baffles land on the trapdoor. 

Wife bought me radios for christmas, and I needed a 3.5mm to IMSA adapter for my current helmet kit.  It came right before we went to the beach for new years, so I brought it all with me! Daughter and I confirmed the radios WORK by chatting accross the condo with helmet/headset on.

Picked up a transmission from someone parting out a z31.  My trans is extremely rare, and grinding badly in 3rd and 4th gears. The z31 is much more common and bolts on to my engine, but the driveshaft needs to be shorter. Apparently you can use the front half of a 240sx driveshaft and then it'll bolt right up... Either need to find one of those or take the shaft to a shop to have it shortened. 

Thats all for now! I'm thinking of taking some time off work to get some more work done. Nights and weekends are packed with family duties lately. More to come!

 

CatDaddy
CatDaddy New Reader
1/18/21 11:56 p.m.

Looks great so far! I drifted an M30 for a while and while everyone around me was rod knocking their nissans, I was running 6 -6.5 Qt of oil in the stock pan and never had a single issue! Not with smoking, frothing or any other typical overfill issues. I think the dipsticks are artificially low to lower emissions that may occur if someone were to truly over fill it to the point of crank causing an oil froth. 
 

One crazy night, the friends tempted me to hold it on rev limiter for 1 minute straight. I negotiated to 30 seconds... !

just another day in paradise for it; It kept going for a long time and never blew up. The car was gone and I sold the engine off and it still ran a while later! 

MaxC
MaxC New Reader
1/19/21 9:28 a.m.

Wow thats hilarious!  I've been told by others who've raced this engine that 5 quarts is a safe bet, so that's what I did.  My modified oil pan should increase the capacity by 1.5 quarts.  Either way, this should effectively solve low oil as an engine killer (as long as the new engine doesn't burn, or leak it all out)!

Good to hear about the abuse it took.  That has been my experience with this engine as well up until this point.  Given the age, mileage, and circumstances, I am not surprised it spun a bearing. 

MaxC
MaxC New Reader
1/22/21 5:39 p.m.

Quick update.  I got the oil pan ALMOST done, but I want to jump over to assembling the engine that's just sitting in a million pieces now. I'm going to table the oil pan project for now.  I have it all tacked together now, tabs welded on for the top baffle plate. I have put oil in it and sloshed it around and it works SUPER GOOD! Will make another post about this when it's totally finished. 

Tabs - wanted to make this top baffle plate removable, it was seam welded before. 

With the baffle box and "wings" all tacked in.

Now for the engine! It looks great, and re-assembly went very smooth.  I didn't want to get this far into it (overboring engine and all), but now that I'm here, this looks like a very clean, brand new motor!  I took a day off work because I was feeling like it would never get done in my free time (which is non-existant). I got the bottom end assembled and one head torqued down.  Found the machine shop shorted me one dowel, so I wasn't able to get the second head on... Have the dowels now, so I'll do that this weekend hopefully. 

I'm never assembling an engine without one of these piston ring compressors again.  Better to spend $30 on one of these bad boys than another $30-$50 on an extra set of rings because you broke one! That's happened to me the last two times.  This tool is amazing.

New +.5mm Pistons

Bottom end is together

Cylinder head on, somewhere in there I painted the block.

More to come!

MaxC
MaxC New Reader
2/8/21 1:54 p.m.

Been a while since the last update.  Thankfully there's been progress! 

The oil pan is done and on the engine.  It was so much more work than I expected.  At this point I'm wishing I'd paired down the scope of the project about 50%, because it was such a hassle.  If it turns out to work without issues, then I'm going to be 100% happy I went through the trouble.  Figured a 3 minute youtube video would be easier to present the oil pan project than try to type out an explanation. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DEEw-SY4SCU&t=4s

With that finished, one of my drivers and great friend since 2007 drove down form Seattle this last weekend and helped me with the car.  We got the engine assembled, oil pan mounted, clutch/flywheel on, trans on, and engine sitting in the bay.  The oil pan was a huge issue.  50% of the problem was because I forgot to weld on a support bracket until we were assembling.  That took a couple hours to make and to notch the baffle box and upper baffle plate that I just madefrown The other 50% was that the dip stick needed to be relocated from the drivers side to the passenger side (where it was originally on my car).  After we stuck the oil pan on with RTV, the dip stick would not go to its home.  Had to take the pan off and modify the dip stick tube and the block where the tube pokes through, and the steel channel in the pan that guides the dip stick away from the crank... huge delay.. but we got it resolved. 

We have the 300zx transmission on, and picked up an s13 driveshaft.  The 300zx trans is longer than the s12 vg30 trans, so the shifter sits back about 3 inches (this is a GOOD thing). This also means the driveshaft is too long.  Others have figured out that the front section of an s13 shaft with the s12 rear section fits the 300zx trans and is bolt-on. Awesome!

So 14 years later we're up to the same old shenanigans. 

Despite my serious face, no we don't take this seriously, it's a joke!

MaxC
MaxC New Reader
3/11/21 10:27 a.m.

Sorry for the lack of updates... it's not due to lack of progress.  However, in the time since the last post I have done a lot of worrying and tracking down little stupid problems. 

When I got the engine all buttoned up, I could not get oil pressure while cranking... Even when I pulled the oil pressure sending unit, oil would not flow out.  Unfortunately, this is the first oil pump I've ever replaced with a brand new unit.  I've never needed to replace one before, and I replaced this one out of guilt for how much I'd already invested in the engine. There was some wear on the drive surface that touches the crank... so I replaced it.  Unfortunately, I didn't realize how hard it would be to build oil pressure.  Eventually I pulled the oil filter housing, and put a funnel into the discharge port on the pump, filled with oil, rotated engine backwards gently to ensure oil was pumped into the pump and down into the pan.  This worked.  After about 45 straight seconds of cranking with no spark plugs, the gauge flickered.  WHAT A NIGHTMARE!! All the surfaces had some very sticky/thick assembly lube, and hopefully all my worries are for nothing. 

Will report more later.  For now... First drive!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2cr-Vf3UFRg

MaxC
MaxC New Reader
3/15/21 12:18 p.m.

OMG! Framing this... Mounting on wall.  Cherishing forever.  Thank you GRM!

MaxC
MaxC New Reader
4/26/21 10:12 p.m.

Been a while since the last update.  Ran into some electrical trouble with the car that took a while to figure out.  Fixed it, and went to my first track outing with the new engine. It didn't go as expected. Here's the video!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JsKxa5DykAU

Will update soon and fill in the gaps!

Nate K
Nate K New Reader
4/27/21 9:20 p.m.
MaxC said:

Been a while since the last update.  Ran into some electrical trouble with the car that took a while to figure out.  Fixed it, and went to my first track outing with the new engine. It didn't go as expected. Here's the video!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JsKxa5DykAU

Will update soon and fill in the gaps!

Ouch! At this point.. what do you think about going a bit more modern and swapping in a VQ30DE setup? We just pulled our running setup out to put in the VQ35DE. We never dynoed it but it should be right around 200whp.

MaxC
MaxC New Reader
4/27/21 10:14 p.m.
Nate K said:
MaxC said:

Been a while since the last update.  Ran into some electrical trouble with the car that took a while to figure out.  Fixed it, and went to my first track outing with the new engine. It didn't go as expected. Here's the video!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JsKxa5DykAU

Will update soon and fill in the gaps!

Ouch! At this point.. what do you think about going a bit more modern and swapping in a VQ30DE setup? We just pulled our running setup out to put in the VQ35DE. We never dynoed it but it should be right around 200whp.

It's definitely crossed my mind. I've considered a few different swaps. Being a Nissan fan boy it's been between a vq, vh, or vg30de.

However, I saw how much work it was for you guys to do your swap... And that's probably not what I need right now. It would take up all my time and kill the budget, which might lead to less racing. I need an engine like your guys trusty KA that wasn't a power house but gave you a lot of good years of service. Really need to develop the car and start finishing races. 

Your thread is great btw. Cool to read about how you developed the car. Starting to get into the races I've been in, and it's fun to see the race from a different (and winning) teams perspective. 

​​

Nate K
Nate K New Reader
4/28/21 12:44 a.m.
MaxC said:
Nate K said:
MaxC said:

Been a while since the last update.  Ran into some electrical trouble with the car that took a while to figure out.  Fixed it, and went to my first track outing with the new engine. It didn't go as expected. Here's the video!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JsKxa5DykAU

Will update soon and fill in the gaps!

Ouch! At this point.. what do you think about going a bit more modern and swapping in a VQ30DE setup? We just pulled our running setup out to put in the VQ35DE. We never dynoed it but it should be right around 200whp.

It's definitely crossed my mind. I've considered a few different swaps. Being a Nissan fan boy it's been between a vq, vh, or vg30de.

However, I saw how much work it was for you guys to do your swap... And that's probably not what I need right now. It would take up all my time and kill the budget, which might lead to less racing. I need an engine like your guys trusty KA that wasn't a power house but gave you a lot of good years of service. Really need to develop the car and start finishing races. 

Your thread is great btw. Cool to read about how you developed the car. Starting to get into the races I've been in, and it's fun to see the race from a different (and winning) teams perspective. 

​​

Our VQ30DE is already RWD converted, all the difficult stuff is done already. Our longest lasting KA came out of the car at 83 hours to put in the VQ30. The VQ30 has ~130 race hours, but compression is still at least 210psi on every cylinder. That thing has been a true workhorse! Our next race will be Portland (provided we get our car back together..), definitely swing by our pits if you can! I'd love to talk shop and try to help accelerate the early learning curve.

MaxC
MaxC New Reader
4/28/21 12:25 p.m.
Nate K said:

Our VQ30DE is already RWD converted, all the difficult stuff is done already. Our longest lasting KA came out of the car at 83 hours to put in the VQ30. The VQ30 has ~130 race hours, but compression is still at least 210psi on every cylinder. That thing has been a true workhorse! Our next race will be Portland (provided we get our car back together..), definitely swing by our pits if you can! I'd love to talk shop and try to help accelerate the early learning curve.

 I'd really appreciate that! Will definitely come say hi next race. We need all the good advice we can get! 

For now we ordered a lower mileage vg33e that has a "guarantee". Going to try and keep it simple and swap it out, and keep oil in it... It's going to take everything I've got to get it running and reliable in time for June PIR. Unfortunately, that probably won't leave any room for other improvements, so we'll be same pace or marginally faster. 

The amount of race hours you have on those motors gives me some hope!

MaxC
MaxC New Reader
6/8/21 12:52 p.m.

Okay time to update this.  Track night did not go well as you know. 

First things first: 

Bought the wife a new tow vehicle. She was thrilled to drive my 05 accord for a couple of days while I took her car to the track no

Sadly, the engine failed due to low oil pressure.  I'm not sure why, it could have been assembly error, a bad, brand new oil pump, something to do with my custom oil pan, I don't know... Of course, in hindsight, not adding an aftermarket oil pressure gauge was a huge mistake.  Time and budget pushed me to rely on the stock gauge.  And you know what they say about hindsight. 

The whole night I was battling high coolant temps, and had to cut some sessions short to keep the car from overheating.  I don't know what caused this either, but I suppose it could have been related to low oil pressure.  The car saw about 3x 10 minute sessions or so, and seemed to do well, although my handling improvements (stiffer rear springs) seem to have had the opposite effect... More on that later... I was able to improve last years best time with the vg30e by 1 second, posting a 1:38.9. Thankfully, the car was slightly better despite horrendous inside wheel spin, and high temps.  The z31 trans I put in grinds SIGNIFICANTLY less than the s12 trans did, and I think the carrier bearing on the new 1/2 s13 driveshaft has reduced some vibration over 100mph.  But by the last lap of the last session the engine developed a loud knock, RIGHT after pit in.  So I did a lap limping in 5th gear and then coasting to my trailer.  

Following this sad turn of events I thought for sure I was doomed to miss the June PIR race, and might be ready in time for Oct. However, after consulting my team, they swayed me to give it another go.  I gave them the option of attempting to make the June race, but their driving fees would not be going to stock the spares with a new set of tires and brake pads... instead we'd spend $400 on a used, guaranteed engine from the junkyard.  They said: LETS GO FOR IT! We have one driver in school who wouldn't be able to make the Oct race, so this was best for everyone.  So $400 and a couple weeks later we get a 140k engine out of a quest delivered. 

And I took the engine out.

All my drivers filled my heart with joy, confidence, and inspiration when I get to this point, in over my head, and I start getting notifications one after another, that they are signing up for the race and putting up their money.  Even get some paypal notifications saying they've paid their fees to me, so thankfully my bank account is getting replenished.  They're all in, and I'm all in for making this crappy situation into gold. 

Things are looking up.  More to come shortly.

MaxC
MaxC New Reader
6/22/21 3:30 p.m.

We are full steam ahead getting ready for the car's second race at PIR this weekend!!

Two teammates, Blake and Tyler made the drive out to try and get the car prep across the finish line a couple weeks ago. We were quite productive. 

Just to recap the car's history:

Race 1: Spun rod bearing due to lack of oil, original 250k+ engine, 6.5 hours into last Oct PIR race. 

Rebuilt/swapped Xterra 3.3L engine over the winter

Track Day: Spun rod bearing again, low oil pressure

Bought Quest Van 3.3L engine from junkyard. 140k miles.  Quest's have front-sump oil pans (only the s12 and the quest VG variants had this), and should be somewhat "drop in".

So, swapping the quest motor in was time consuming.  Mostly because I had to kind of stumble my way through discovering all of the differences between the 3 engines.  The biggest differences are that each engine's crank pulleys are unique, which means I have to use the accessories that correspond to the crank pulley.  I wanted to use as much quest stuff as possible as to reduce the amount of work, but that didn't happen. 

I swapped the S12 original cams into the 3.3L motor because the 3.3 cams are very small (for torque) and make peak power, 170@4800 RPM.  That didn't sound ideal for road racing.  The s12 cams make peak power with a 3.0L, 160 @ 5300 (if I recall correctly). One problem I found is some stress cracks near the dowel pins on the cams... great!!! We torqued the cam gears to spec, and decided to run them.  The dowel does not hold the cam gear in place once it's torqued, so I don't think we'll have a problem. But I won't run these cams again probably... Instead I'll send the van cams out for regrinds and replace them over the winter. 

About the time I had the cams swapped and the timing belt on, I started to realize I had a problem.  The truck crank pulley won't work with the quest water pump, I don't have quest accessories, so I have to use it.  Swapping over the quest water pump I'm praying that I can keep the quest oil pump (and not have to swap pickups, mod oil pan, etc!).  So basically after putting all of the truck stuff on to the front of the quest engine, with the quest oil pump intact... Its looking like its going to work! Resealed the oil pan, front&rear mains, cam seals, valve covers, s12 manifolds on with new gaskets, motor mounts on, leaving dip stick on opposite side of engine because it appears to not create any problems... completely destroy the spacer in the back of the crank before it's removed so we can swap in a pilot bushing...and we're ready!

We also added an oil pressure gauge, and an oil pressure warning light to hopefully prevent another engine failure from running out of oil, or low pressure... I know I should have done this two engines ago. 

The PS was another project.  I was stuck using the truck PS pump that matched the crank pulley, but the bracket wouldn't fit at all (ran into the body).  I ended up using the van engine bracket, making custom brackets to hold the PS pump, getting a 1" shorter belt, making new high and low pressure lines, and relocating the reservoir to the drivers side.  JEEZ what a project! IMO the car is too hard to turn without PS, so this was necessary.  Especially if the race is hot, driver fatigue is real over two hours!

We dropped the engine back in. Hooked everything up, and cranked that bad boy for about 45 seconds until the oil pressure gauge bumped up to about 12 psi.  I installed the distributor and set the timing, which I apparently nailed the first try. Cranked the car over and it didn't even try to start.... connected the coil wire and tried again cool Fired right up, and sounded extremely smooth!

Blake also brought over his heavier duty mig welder, and Tyler dropped the diff/fluid and cleaned the crap out of it, and I welded that sucker up.  This was a hotly debated subject over the winter.  The car had bad body roll with the stock springs, and bad inside wheel spin in all the tight corners...the throttle was useless in the chicane turns 1-2 and in turn 7.  Over the winter I found some higher spring rate rear z31 springs and cut them to the correct height.  I ran them on the track day that killed the engine and found the inside wheel spin had gotten worse.  Now the inside rear spins in medium speed corners as well (turns 4, 5, 6, and 12).  Something had to be done, but a diff that goes in this car is going to be $1000+, which we can't do right now.  I ask the Lucky Dog group how people feel about racing with welded diffs.  The consensus is:

Your car has a balance problem that's making the inside wheel spin miserable

Welded diffs are great for racing! (from literally every person who'd raced with one)

They had a point(s).  90% of the weight I'd removed from the car had been out of the middle/back of the car, and I still have a big iron V6 with a fully intact turbo hood scoop (that I don't have the heart to cut) and pop up headlights. They suggested: loosen the end of the car with drive wheels and/or tighten up the opposite end. So: stiffer front springs/bar or softer rear springs/disconnect sway bar, balance corner weights better.  Since the race is very close and I don't have the ability to play with spring rates/aftermarket front sway bar etc., I did a few things:

I had a mk1 hood from a parts car (mk1 hoods do not clear VG's without cutting).  We cut half the bracing out of the bottom and added louvers carefully with an angle grinder.  The hood is 14 lbs lighter, and should help with cooling and reducing some lift. I also removed the headlights and motors (there will not be any racing in the dark this weekend) that dropped another 9 lbs.  So roughly 25 lbs dropped from the front of the car.  Then we removed the rear sway bar.  For good measure, we welded that diff.  We may have caused some other handling issues, but I'm pretty dang sure we've at least solved the inside wheel spin!!! 

This week I ducted the radiator/filled in gaps so that air could not flow around the radiator.  This turned out to be the best mod yet, because it's looking like the race weekend will be 104-106 DEGREES!!!!!!!!!!! Regretting not building a coolshirt system, upgrading radiator, adding oil cooler, etc. 

Wife made decals!!

I have been wanting to spend $140 on an IO Port seat back brace for a while because I feel guilty not having one for some reason... It seems like it would make the seat quite a bit more stable in a crash, and I thought it would be a good safety mod.  Well.. the want was strong, but it couldn't grow my bank account, so I duplicated it with parts from Lowe's Racing Supply for $14. I'm very happy with it for only 10% of the cost of the real thing.

So there's a novel of an update for yah.  Racing this weekend.  Can't not be freaked out worrying about the car and the temps, etc... But also very very excited.  I can't wait.  Update soon!

MaxC
MaxC New Reader
6/22/21 4:36 p.m.

Close up of our vents, and my wife's custom graphics.  The arrow is a simple "hey dummy, the hood release is right here" indicator. The quote is of some personal significance.  My grandpa, who passed away in 2011, was extremely quiet. Very nice guy but didn't say much of anything that didn't absolutely have to be said.  He was a machinist by trade, and after the war he got in to hot rods.  In 1946 he set a class record in his model A pickup of 118 mph at El Mirage. 

When I was 18 years old my grandparents came to visit along with my uncle who idolized his dad.  My uncle is a badass dude with flame tatoos, harley's, and various muscle cars. He even has a model A that's somewhat of a tribute replica of my grandpa's old truck. I had just finished my RB swap in my 240sx, and was excited to take them for rides.  I didn't expect my uncle would be very easy to impress. As soon as we hit boost burned some rubber, my uncle yelled and giggled like a school girl, and was the most excited I'd ever seen him.  Then I took my grandpa for a ride and he didn't say much of anything.  When we got back to the house my uncle said "OH MAN DAD what do you think!! Isn't that thing crazy!!!!!!" My grandpa just said...

"...Boy that little Nissan really goes"

MaxC
MaxC New Reader
7/27/21 5:48 p.m.

Lucky Dog Racing League – Portland International Raceway June 2021

Race Report

Last year’s October PIR event was the race debut for my 1988 Nissan 200sx V6, where the engine spun a bearing 6 hours into Saturday’s race.  I rebuilt the engine over the winter and that engine spun a rod bearing at a track day in April.  Our last-ditch effort to make the June PIR race was to buy a Quest engine from the junkyard and throw it in and hope it is good!

We really really really want to finish a race, and with record high temps in the forecast (105-115F) I start to get nervous about the car & drivers holding up. 

Saturday 7 hour enduro

We have two drivers on the team with racing experience: Myself (5 races), and Tyler (1 race). Blake and Jesse are not new to driving on track but have not raced yet.  No one on the team wants to start the race, thinking the start will be chaotic.  I never want to start because I want all my drivers to get time in early in case the car breaks.  I do not want anyone to miss out on driving. Nevertheless, I volunteer to take the green flag to manage the start and [hopefully] bring the car back to the next guy without trouble.  Blake and Jesse each get about 3 smooth laps in qualifying and bring the car back into the pits to top off fuel and change drivers.  I already notice that there is some PS fluid leaking and ask them to check it out while I am belting in.  They said it appears fluid is boiling out of the reservoir. Not much we can do at this point other than clean it up and hope it was overfilled (we only have about 10 miles of street driving with the new engine & PS setup). I leave pit lane and immediately radio “guys, the PS is louder than the engine”.  They do not know what to do about that, it is too late anyway, so I continue.  After one short lap we get a green flag and I go for it.  Mid turn 5, the power steering completely dies, and I go right off the track on the inside of turn 6.  Smoke starts pouring out of the hood vents. I slowly make my way back into the pits and tell the guys we need to ditch PS in a hurry. They took about 10 minutes to cut the belt, drain the fluid, and clean up a ton of fluid. I go back out in 44th place out of 45 cars that took the checker.  The car is doing great, but with very heavy steering.  This is going to get difficult when the temps start creeping up.  Since last race we had made some handling improvements to the car including removed rear sway bar, welded diff, and dropping some weight off the front.  Surprisingly, they worked much better than I could have predicted.  The car understeers a bit but stops with throttle and the car rotates beautifully.  Despite telling myself constantly to take it easy and bring the car home, my times start dropping into the 1:38’s and 1:37’s, roughly 2.5 seconds faster than last year! I stop using 2nd gear and limit the max RPM’s by about 700 to keep the coolant temps under control, and it doesn’t appear to hurt lap times that bad.  The engine has torque! I make my way up to 28th overall and hand the car off to Blake.  We get close to a 5-minute pit stop (slight improvement over last year), and he’s off in 31st place.  Standing and holding a fire extinguisher after 1.5 hours in the car was quite miserable, we decide not to make the incoming driver do anything during pits for the rest of the weekend.

Blake’s stint

I’m already a bit relieved to hand a healthy car off to the next guy, especially someone who hasn’t raced before.  That’s one goal accomplished.  Blake is doing a great job and is getting fast.  He is probably trying his hardest and not as unreasonably worried about the as like I am.  He starts chipping down at his lap times and eventually sets the car’s fastest lap (Blake you little…!!) of a 1:36.4.  During his stint he gets squeezed in turn 10 and half spins and knocks the steering off center a few degrees.  See Blake this is what happens when you try and beat my fastest lap time. Anyways, he did a great job and comes into the pits in 19th place and we get Jesse in the car. This pit is a minute faster, but the starter is no longer working.  We push start the car as the 5-minute timer starts buzzing.  Jesse’s racing now for the first time ever… another goal accomplished!

Jesse’s stint

Jesse rejoins the track in 23rd place. The ambient temp is really starting to creep up right about this time.  Blake and I were able to do 1.5 hours but its getting hot enough that we don’t think that will be possible anymore.  Jesse starts settling in when the safety car comes out for an incident.  Lap after lap Jesse is stuck behind the safety car in a line of other cars, and not moving very fast. He radios in and says there is no airflow in the car, and he feels like he’s just baking.  Ambient temperature is about 95 degrees at this point.  Jesse says he’s not feeling good, and says he’s coming in.  This was a huge bummer, because one of our drivers only had 30 minutes of driving and did not have a good experience.  We have to try to make this right for Sunday. Jesse pits in 21st and hands it off to Tyler.

Tyler’s stint

Tyler rejoins in 23rd.  Unfortunately for Tyler I scheduled him to have the 3rd stint in the heat of the day, but he was the right choice for this drive having already raced the car for 2 hours straight last year.  Tyler is smooth, consistent, and stays out of trouble, exactly what we need for a day like this.  The longer we’re out there turning laps the higher we move up the order as other cars/drivers break or overheat.  Tyler’s stint is quiet because he’s quiet.  He doesn’t say much on the radio, and just does his job.  He pits in 20th position after about an hour in the car.  We are getting faster with our pits, and even though we’re push starting the car, we still pull off a stop that’s barely over the 5-minute minimum. 

My 2nd stint

I jump back in the car for an hour in the afternoon.  The plan was only the people that have driven the first two stints would be in any kind of shape to get back in the car in the afternoon. With Jesse’s stint going wrong, we’d have to have Blake drive another stint at the very end of the day.  I rejoin the track in 22nd position.  Now that all my drivers have had a stint, I’m breathing a bit easier.  The only unfinished business now is to bring the car home so we can take a checkered flag and have a car for Jesse to race tomorrow! My stint is going about as well as it can considering it’s over 100 degrees.  There are some incidents that bring out the safety car, and I end up cruising for 6 laps behind the safety car.  Jesse is right, there is no airflow in this thing and its misery.  One consolation is that I don’t have to watch the temp gauge creep past 215 and am able to keep it around 205 behind the safety car.  Oddly that makes me feel better. Green flag lasts one lap and we’re back to a safety car for another 3.  Green flag drops again, and I am trying as hard as I can to get focused, but the heat is absolutely brutal.  It takes me 4 laps to start running in the 1:39’s again, and I will not improve on that pace for the rest of the day.   I’m clicking off laps, but the fatigue is really starting to set in and I start questioning how much longer I’ll be able to do this.  I start trying to do math in my head to figure out how long I’ll need to go to keep Blake’s stint short enough so that he can survive it.  My brain can’t do math in this state though.  My wife, with the voice of an angel sent from Jesus comes on the radio “… race is being shortened due to heat, checkered flag at 3:30.” Thank God. The safety crew decided the heat was too much, as they had to repair a tire wall during the safety car.  Seems like it takes everything I have left to make it the next few laps, but the last lap finally comes and I get to buzz the wall to the checker for the first time ever.  It felt so good to finally finish a race, I can’t even put it to words.  It made me choke up at the time when my wife was congratulating me over the radio, and I know it wasn’t just the heat exhaustion now because it still gives me the same feeling writing about it a month later. 

The 7-hour enduro was shortened to 5.5 hours.  We finished 15th place overall, and 5th in C-class at 104 degrees F.

Sunday’s race recap is coming soon!

 

 

MaxC
MaxC New Reader
8/4/21 5:31 p.m.

Sunday Enduro

It was too dang hot to work on the car after the race on Saturday, so we left a few things to fix early Sunday morning when it was cooler.  Blake had gone off and knocked the steering off center and that had to be checked, as well as brake pads, and a bolt check.  We found nothing wrong with the steering, and nothing bent. We decided to run it as is.  Jesse improvised a driver cooling solution with old brake duct hose and zip ties on the A-pillars. Today’s going to be even hotter at 115F. We’re all wondering how long the race is going to be considering the last race was cut short due to much lower temps. At the drivers meeting, race control confirms our suspicions.  The race will be shortened from 8 hours to 4 hours, with a maximum stint length of 1 hour.  Fine with us! We don’t want to be driving any longer than that anyways.

Race start and Jesse’s stint

We belt Jesse in, and he pulls the car to grid. Recall that the day before, Jesse had some heat exhaustion problems and had to pit early.  Getting Jesse a stint with lower temperatures so that he could compete and enjoy himself was the only unfinished business that really mattered.  He got the first choice of stint and of course that meant the coolest part of the day.  As he sits on grid at 9am it’s already 85F.

He makes his way through the formation lap and reports that the driver cooling mods are a night and day difference! The green flag drops and we start the race in 26th out of 35 cars.  He’s cautious as he starts to get into the groove of the race, and before we know it his times start dropping to competitive levels. By lap 14 he clicks off a 1:38.3 and a personal best.  Jesse had a great time and was able to battle with Team Neon and the Battle Forged Heroes VW.  This is what it’s all about.  Jesse pit’s in 22nd and is happy.  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! Now let’s go run the best race we can.  We’ve got nothing to lose!

Tyler’s Stint

Tyler belt’s in for the second stint.  We gave him a *cooler* stint today because last race he was baking in the afternoon heat. Our pit stops are getting almost as good as they can get.  We push start the car right as the 5-minute timer goes off.  Tyler rejoins in 28th.  We didn’t know much about Tyler’s stint because he’s a racing machine and didn’t say anything.  Later Tyler reported that he was trying to focus on his line and work on the areas where he knew he was slow. Apparently this worked because Tyler ran his personal best time of 1:39.8, which meant all our team was running in the 1:3X’s.  Tyler’s driving has improved by a few seconds per lap since his first race last year (and in much worse conditions than last year). Toward the end of his stint, he decided to be the drift king in turn 7 which precipitated some massive fuel cut.  We are brainstorming on how to improve the fuel cut in the future because it seems to happen even with 4 gallons left. Soon after, he pulls into the pits in 21st place. By this point, race control has notified us that our transponder signal is extremely weak.  They give us a new rental transponder to stick on the car.  Somehow, we’re able to swap transponders, drivers, and fuel, all within 5 minutes and 2 seconds.  After running mid-to-back of C-class most of the morning, we’re starting to see that our consistency is moving us up the order.  There are also a lot of car’s dropping out.  If we keep running a clean race, and a bit of luck goes our way, we could be on the podium.

Blake’s Stint

Blake rejoins in 22nd place.  It’s really hot at this point.  Blake is paying the price now for having a cooler stint the day before.  His lap times are good, but not quite as fast as the day before.  He is able to get down to a 1:37.3. Despite the heat, he’s able to push, and we start moving up through the field.  Unfortunately, our transponder problems are still present.  Blake is not recording laps that he’s clearly making.  Race control tells us that the location of our transponder must be the issue.  We don’t know why this is, because it’s very close to the ground and in the same place we’ve always put transponders.  They tell us to bolt 3 rentals on to it if we have to, but they need another signal for our car. After a trip to race control, we’re credited back a lap for every “double lap time” we have (laps that register double our normal lap time).  They give us another transponder and tell us to bolt it on in a totally different area of the car.  Once all of our laps are given back we finally get an idea of where we are in the standings.  Blake has moved us up to 15th overall and 5th in C-Class.  He pulls into the pits and we get to work refueling.  He gave us this report about his stint “Hot, go fast, don’t crash, almost crashed, go faster, hot”.  Thanks Blake.  Tyler sheet metal screws the new transponder somewhere near the back bumper.  Jesse gets the camera reset. Somehow, we do this all and only lose 1 minute for a total of 6 minutes in the pits.

My Stint

I leave pit lane and we all believe there’s a legitimate chance at being on the podium, so long as our transponder works, I don’t crash, I survive the heat, and we get a little bit of luck going our way.  We can’t be sure because of our transponder issues, but it appears I’ve rejoined 6th in class with #246 Shift Happens CRX leading, with #153 Bunny Boy’s miata, #323 Durkee Walker Racing miata, #606 Sleepyrace miata, and the #943 Porsche 944 ahead of us.  Shortly after my stint begins, I overtake the green 944 as they pit for their final driver change which moves us into 5th.  After that we’re all racing heads up to the checker, everyone else short of an issue does not need to pit.  A few laps later I catch up to the #606 Sleepyrace Miata, and overtake on the inside entering turn 7, moving us in to 4th place in class.  A safety car comes out to deal with a stalled vehicle in turn 11.  After a lap or two under full course yellow we get a green flag.  I can see the #167 Miata that is running 6th in class and I’m able to pull very close to them by the exit of the chicane.  At that very moment we come up on the #246 CRX that’s going slowly into turn 4.  The CRX is running 1st in class and it appears their LF wheel is coming loose! Huge bummer for them, but thankfully they were able to limp it back to the pits safely. This means if we put a few more laps in we will eventually overtake them.  On the back straight I motor past the #167 miata to put one lap up on them, and by the front straight we’re back on a full course yellow for the disabled CRX.  These restarts have gone our way in that all the cars are bunched back up and they’re within striking distance when we go green.  Green flag drops and I’m right behind Durkee Walker, Bunny Boys (who were both laps up on us), and the green 944.  By the back straight I’m close enough to the miata’s to motor by and pull within a few car lengths of the 944. By turn 12 I’m right on the 944, and able to draft and overtake him on the front straight to put one lap on them.  At this point, not only is the race going my way, but I am also the fastest I’ll be all race setting a 1:37.5 right as I pull past the Porsche to put a lap on them.  Shortly after we reach the number of laps the #246 CRX completed, and we overtake them by default and move into 3rd place. Unfortunately, this is the point where we get some luck that doesn’t go our way.  About 10 minutes left in the race the orange General Leif Volvo runs out of fuel and coasts off course in the chicane, which brings out a local yellow in turn 1.  I come up on this flag station and am right behind an e46 BMW in another class.  We coast through turns 1-3, and past the volvo on the side of the track. As we approach the apex of turn 3 I stay tight to the bumper of the BMW, and as soon as the turn 4 flag station is within view and without a yellow flag I go for it.  About a minute later Blake comes on the radio and says, “MAX did you pass someone under yellow?”.  “I don’t think so!!!” I reply. I was getting really tired and hot. It was nearly an hour into my stint in the heat so I didn’t flat out deny it even though I was pretty sure I didn’t.  Anyways, sure enough I see a black flag the next time I’m on the front straight.  I pull into pit lane and am held in the doghouse for a couple of minutes.  While sitting there idling I see the oil pressure gauge hovering around zero, and I panic and shut the engine off.  My team sprints down pit lane to be ready to push start me while I debate if I should not go back out (my brain is not working very well at this point).  There is only 3 minutes left to the checker.  The guys get to the doghouse, and I’m released. They push start me, and as soon as the RPMs come up, the oil pressure does too… Maybe it’s just really hot. The penalty cost us about two extra minutes. After the race we would review the video, and all agree that it should not have been a penalty.  We presented it to race control and they say I should have waited longer to make the pass.  Unfortunate, but that’s racing sometimes.  Thankfully my team doesn’t think it should have been a penalty, and not letting them down is what really matters to me.  Two more laps to the checker and I have no idea where I stand, although I can see the green Porsche in my mirrors.  Somehow, I’m still able to crank out a 1:38 on the last lap of the race, which proves to be important.  I buzz the wall to the checkered flag.  It’s 104 degrees when I get out of the car, and I learn that we came in 4th place in C-Class, and 15th overall.  The #606 Sleepyrace Miata was about 20 seconds ahead and took 3rd.  Amazingly, the Porsche behind me was on the same lap in 5th place and only 3 seconds back.  After 4 hours of racing 3rd-6th place were separated by only 35 seconds!!!

We all had an epic weekend that we’ll never forget.  After actual years of work, we make it to a race weekend hoping to finish a race and preferably have a running engine at the end. Instead we finish BOTH races, the car is 3 seconds faster than the year before, every driver drove, every driver went the fastest they’d ever gone, we actually get to push and compete, we come within 20 seconds of a podium, AND we drove the car on to the trailer in working condition.  If you would have told me this weekend was going to turn out THIS GOOD I would have never believed you! I’m so proud of my team and there couldn’t be a happier team owner than THIS GUY!

check out how close the 5th place Porsche was!

 

Highlight video!

 

solfly
solfly Dork
8/4/21 7:47 p.m.

Great race reports! How do you remember in such detail?

MaxC
MaxC New Reader
8/4/21 8:18 p.m.
solfly said:

Great race reports! How do you remember in such detail?

Hahaha I'm so glad you asked! In fact I don't remember much immediately after the race at all! And it's taken me over a month to put this together. I had my brain, my team, data from speedhive to make sure the positions and lap times are accurate, and then video that helps put it all together. Couldn't possibly come up with that much detail without those resources. 

I can be a nostalgic guy. This story is important to me to document, as much to share with others as it is to have and re-read when I'm older. 

MaxC
MaxC New Reader
9/7/21 2:57 p.m.

More content!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDeeb8HpTLQ

Was able to get my VG30e cams out of the VG33, and install my new Isky Racing reground cams (using original VG33e cams).  When I was doing my VG33e swap, I installed the VG30e cams in the engine and noticed some cracks around the dowel and threads when I was going to set the timing.  Running out of time, I checked to make sure the cam gear bolt would reach it's torque spec. It did, and I rolled the dice with the cracked cams.  We survived 10 hours of racing in record high temps, thank God.  When I tore it all down, the cracks were worse and there was a lot of play in the gear.  Sent my 3.3 cams to Ron @ Isky and asked his advice on the best cam for a stock engine, stock RPM, endurance race car.  He recommended the "258 Mega" grind that has a 258 duration and .435" lift.  I installed them last weekend and put together a clip for you guys.  The car feels like it just has more between 3000-6000.  Butt dyno guesses 10-15 hp gain, which is what I expected.  There is slightly more valvetrain noise, which caught me off guard.  I seriously couldn't be more impressed with the Isky product, value and service.  They sent them back in nice boxes, engraved, parco coated, with a jar of Isky assembly lube, a cam spec card and a lot of install/general cam information. For only $206 shipped! Ron was awesome. You HAVE to call him and ask if you want Isky regrinds for the VG30/33. They are not listed on the website.

MaxC
MaxC New Reader
11/8/21 3:08 p.m.

Race Report – Lucky Dog Racing League, PIR 10/30-31

**warning - long**

Saturday 7 hour Enduro

A new driver to the team, Mark L., started the race for us. He has been racing Nissans for over a decade with other teams and was a solid driver for us from lap 1. He dove on to grid (safely) and gave us a great starting position. He laid down a bunch of laps in the 1:30’s, and set a fast lap of around 1:36.4, which was the fastest the car had gone up until this race. I believe when Mark pitted, we were P1 in C-Class. This was the beginning of our biggest challenge of the weekend. Mark was only able to go about 70 minutes before the car started to studder on fuel. We put Dave Sutherland in next and he also did a solid job. Apparently, he spun it after the turn 1 braking zone. I had a similar experience, and we realized that if you don’t rev match and bring the RPMs up high enough before letting the clutch out, the back end will break loose and it feels like the brake bias is too high in the rear. Careful rev matching and downshifting later in the braking zone seemed to remedy this. Dave lowered our car’s fastest lap into the low 1:35’s before pitting. At some point the race was black flagged due to a large amount of people passing under yellow. We pitted right before the black flag and put Tyler Burnside in with a full tank of fuel. I believe during this pit stop we got a penalty for having crew over the wall before the car came to a stop. I’d never heard of that rule but oh well, we lost a few minutes in the penalty box at pit-out. Unfortunately, Tyler sat in traffic and then the race was black flagged yet again 9 laps later for the same reason, race control decided to make a driver change mandatory to try and curb the passing under yellow. This is when things got a big crazy. Megan volunteered to drive 4th, knowing that we would have to fill in a short stint of about 45 minutes. Well, when the mandatory driver change occurred, it accelerated our need for her to drive by about an hour. She rushed to get ready to drive a race car for the second time in her life. She was dead set on driving for 30-45 minutes, but the truth was, we needed her to go as long as possible or we’d be looking at yet ANOTHER pit stop by the end of the day. She ended up pulling through for us big time and stayed out for over an hour! She pitted and I got in the car. I had a great time driving the car. The first time I turned into the chicane I thought “OH MAN THIS THING HANDLES GREAT”. It’s so hard to tell how good a car is going to be on track when all you can do it putt around the neighborhood, but we nailed it. My stint was exciting and trouble free, I lowered the cars fast lap to a 1:34.275. Tyler got back in after me, followed by Dave. We were a bit out of contention early on because we had to pit so early, then had a penalty. It seemed to compound by the end of the day because we had to make so many stops. But we brought the car home in P6 in C class, 20th overall out of 56 cars. The car was in good shape, and we knew it was fast enough to compete. We put some front brakes on it, and repacked the wheel bearings, and headed off to dinner. Saturday’s race was a bit of a blur for me, and our camera got almost no video. Thankfully the photographers Drew & Dakota rented a helicopter to take pictures of the race, and we got some once in a lifetime kind of pictures.

Sunday 8 hour Enduro

Sunday we were all very pumped up and had learned some lessons from Saturday. We figured that with one extra hour, our lack of fuel capacity would be an even bigger challenge, but from the green flag, nothing went how we thought it would! We put Mark in the car to start again. Cars started rolling on to grid and he dove to try and get a good spot in line. HUGE MISTAKE. They gridded cars on the track a few hundred feet away, on track, instead of pit lane. We thought we’d be able to finish getting Mark situated while cars got into position, but we didn’t realize it would be so far away and on the track. I grabbed the radio and sprinted hundreds of feet as fast as I could. Got to our car and his right shoulder belt was not tight, the radio plug not connected, and the camera not running. Thank GOD I made it to him. They go out for their formation lap, and I jog back to the pits recovering from a mild heart attack. The green flag drops and we watch the green e46 BMW come to an abrupt stop, with apparent rear suspension failure. We all watch helpless as cars split off to either side to avoid the car at a dead stop in the middle of the track. I breath a bit after mark passes him without incident. Unfortunately, the blue Porsche 944 was not so lucky. He was following a car who darted to the side at the last second to avoid the BMW, and it was too late for him to avoid. The Porsche plowed into the BMW hard, and the race was red flagged for a half hour while they helped the drivers and cleaned up the cars. Thankfully, as far as I know, no one had any serious injuries.

The accident meant that our driver sat on the track and took a nap for about a half hour with the engine off. This mitigated our fuel capacity problem. He had another red flag, or full course caution, I don’t remember which. The two incidents meant that Mark was able to go the full 2-hour stint on one tank of fuel. If I’m not mistaken, Mark pitted while P1 in C class. Dave got in next and was nice and quick, putting down a bunch of laps in the 1:34-35 range. Dave did not have any unusual circumstances to mitigate the fuel situation, and the fuel only lasted another 40 laps or just over an hour before it started misfiring. Around this time, Dave came across a slow-moving car in turn 10, and punted them hard. Of course the camera didn’t work and he’s not sure who it was. He self-reported instead of getting black flagged, and they seemed to know that the car was slow moving. Dave admitted it was his fault, and they understood and sent him on his way. He thought the car was bent up pretty bad, but as he drove by us in the pits we could hardly tell. That very out-lap, we had some luck go our way. There was a separate incident that caused a safety car, so we called Dave in. This worked out quite nicely, while our main competitors did not have to pit for fuel, they did have to drive around slowly behind the safety car while we put Tyler in the car and fueled up. I think this saved us from losing 1-2 laps to our competition. The teams we were in close competition with were all Miatas, Durkee-Walker, Pist’n’Broke, and Bunny Boys. About 30 laps later, they all pit and we retook the lead. Tyler is to be commended for his performance during this stint. Bunny Boys and Pist’n’Broke came up on Tyler, and I gently told him those are two car’s we’re battling and to please stay ahead of them. At the time they were running faster than Tyler had ever gone, in the mid-to-high 1:30’s. Tyler kept them at bay for several laps, and during this stint ran something like 15 laps faster than he’d ever gone before. His best lap of this stint was 2.5 seconds faster than his previous best. Eventually they overtook him when he was caught in traffic, and he finished out his stint. I jumped into the car next and had a great time. Sometime during Saturday, the steering wheel got knocked off center, and it was no better today. In fact, I noticed that the wheel would be straight sometimes and crooked others. The rack was definitely shifting in its mounts. I continued and learned how to deal with it. The sketchiest part was braking for turn 10 at 110 mph with a crooked wheel, turning in and the car wouldn’t steer for the first inch or two of steering wheel input! I didn’t improve my time from Saturday but did get close, and put down a lot of laps in the 1:34-35’s. Durkee Walker pit for their last stop, and we re-took the lead. I held out for as long as possible while misfiring but eventually came in to avoid running out of fuel. We put Mark in and only about 7-8 gallons of fuel, and I was a bit confused. Thankfully, my team was back in the pits thinking clearly while I was out racing. Tom explained to me that there was not any chance of finishing out the race with one stint, so Mark would drive a short stint, and we’d put Dave in for the last hour. We dropped down to 4th again, but Pist’n’broke and Bunny Boys pitted shortly after for their last stop and took over 2nd place. Mark was in the car for about 45 minutes when opportunity struck, and the safety car was deployed! We called Mark in ASAP and got ready to put Dave in for the last 70 minutes of the race. While we did our driver change and put 10 more gallons of fuel in the car, Pist’n and Bunny Boys caught back up to us, but only barely. They were forced to do 3 slow laps behind the safety car while we busted out the fastest pit we could manage. Dave rejoined the track in 4th place 37 seconds adrift of Bunny & Pist’n who were basically in the battle of the century. For the next 45 minutes I painfully watched the slow train wreck that would be us cruising to yet another 4th place finish, where we would narrowly miss the podium for the second race weekend in a row. Dave took 7 seconds out of their lead before reporting the car was getting hot (230F), and we knew we’d be close on having enough fuel to finish. There seemed like nothing we could do but cruise home in 4th. Then a bit of luck went our way when Pist’n and Bunny boys epic battle took a turn when they collided and were black flagged for contact. Dave inherited 2nd place and put one lap on them before they were released. At this point we were tempted to tell Dave to try and run down Durkee Walker, who was a lap up, but at times nearly 10 seconds a lap slower! I told Dave just don’t blow the engine, run out of fuel, or lose our 2nd place and bring the car home. This turned out to be the right move. Durkee Walker took the win and had an empty fuel tank (explained why they were going slow), and Dave crossed the checker about 50 seconds adrift. Later Dave said he was misfiring in just about every corner!!! P2 in C class, P13 overall. We couldn’t be happier; this is the teams best result to date!

MaxC
MaxC Reader
11/8/21 3:16 p.m.

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