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SuperTouring
SuperTouring New Reader
4/23/18 1:37 p.m.

Gustaf,  glad I found a simple way to raise the shock mount.  I didn't have to invest much time and spent $0 and got a good amount of shock travel back.  Whether or not it'll help much has yet to be determined! But the G20/Primera community seems to think it's important. 

I have a feeling I'll need to shorten the arms at some point.  I probably didn't get much negative camber from the new mounting point.  We'll see how the tires wear at the first track day and make the decision after that. 

Progress on the car this weekend: Not a whole lot! I found a good condition alternator pigtail to solder on in place of the completely ruined one that came on the car.  Previous owner just "Replaced" the alternator just before I bought it and broke the connector.  The battery light would randomly come on while driving.  Glad to have this fixed so I don't get stranded somewhere (or worse, at the track!).

Also welded the exhaust back to about the rear lower control arms before running out of exhaust pipe.  I tack welded on a turn-down so that I can re-install the exhaust and drive it safely until I can go get some more exhaust pipe.  I did a pretty good job cutting all the straight pieces and mandrel bends, and then I did a pretty good job of RUINING IT ALL with some extra bad welding.  It seems that this trusty old flux core welder has its limitations.  No matter how low I turned the heat or wire feed speed down it'd still blow through the pipe no matter what.  Flux core welding uses about 1/3 more heat in the work piece than MIG welding because the polarity is reversed. I don't think I'll be doing any more exhaust welding until I can get a bottle of gas and convert my welder. 

Well it's all welded now and I'm going to try to wire brush the crap out of the welds and maybe paint them.  Didn't take any pictures because I wasn't very proud of it.  I might put a picture of the exhaust from far away on here once I'm done!

SuperTouring
SuperTouring New Reader
5/10/18 4:59 p.m.

Small but significant update:

Been kind of bummed out about the car lately.  Ran out of money to spend on the car.  To make matters worse my list of mandatory requirements to get on track had to wait because..... The battery is toast.  No matter how much I charge it, the thing won't hold a charge.  

Thanks to a pep talk from some of my best car buddies, I am back on track.  One was even so nice as to drive an hour to bring me a used (dang near new) battery for $20.  Much better than spending $100 on a new battery. Thanks BLAKE! 

Also I was able to sell my AC compressor and catalytic converter to recharge the budget a little.  I don't have much to get done before track time, so every little bit helps!

The other night I had to make a trip to the store for diapers and just decided that it's time I take the race car.  Wife gave me a nervous look, and I nervously went on the car's maiden voyage (Sorta) and hoped the car didn't break.  Decided to commemorate it with some video. 

 

The thing did great! Runs good, pulls decent, idles well.  I think it even might corner kinda good! The exhaust might not be as loud as I thought it was.  I got a timing light to see if my timing is off.  I noticed that around 3000 rpm the engine is loud like the timing is retarded, and the engine's not revving quite as quickly as I'd expect.  We'll see. 

As I stated before there's a few main things I want to complete before hitting the track. Finish exhaust, change brake fluid, get racing brake pads, mount steering wheel.  Naturally I'm picking the lowest priority item first. 

Stock wheel next to my sparco.  The stock wheel is enormous, and it looks like I'll need a decent sized spacer between the quick release and the wheel.  This car was probably better suited to a concave wheel, but I prefer the grip of this flatter wheel. 

NOW FOR THE BEST NEWS!!!!!!

This car will be ON THE TRACK! Portland International Raceway.  Track Night in America.  August 10th!!!!!!!!!!!

B13Birk
B13Birk Reader
5/12/18 9:00 a.m.

In reply to SuperTouring :

Im Really excited for you man! You have been in full beast mode to finish this car. I'm impressed. I have been slow moving on mine. But with the summer approaching I know I will have more time to finish it up. MY Goal? To not let you beat me to the track haha. Congrats on all the progress. Let me know if you need help sourcing any other parts. 

SuperTouring
SuperTouring New Reader
5/15/18 2:29 p.m.

In reply to B13Birk :

Thanks dude! 

I sure don't feel like beast mode, but I have been chipping away at it slowly but surely.  As the money trickles in I'm trying to check these last few boxes.  This weekend I bought:

-Quick release hub

-Steering wheel spacer/adapter

-Brake fluid.

Still needs exhaust finished, brake pads, and remove most of the interior.  I also need to give the front end a good shake down and make sure all the parts are going to last through a track day. 

I'll return with pictures once I make some progress!  Can't wait for an update on your car too.  I encourage you to look up one of these SCCA Track Night events.  It's basically a track day that you can do after work, and they're super low key and all you really need is a helmet and a car that'll pass tech. I think it'll be a good start for a cheap race car like mine.  I don't need to be a hero, just need to not crash/break, find the cars weaknesses, and find the drivers weaknesses. 

SuperTouring
SuperTouring New Reader
5/23/18 4:23 p.m.

Update!

Haven't had much time to work on the car in the last few weeks.  But I did get an hour this last weekend, and I DID A THING!

Yes gents this means there is no turning back. 

The car is now a race car. 

I welded on the hex quick release adapter and officially ruined a part of the car that can't be unruined.  I know it sounds ridiculous, but this is another milestone in turning this car into a race car.  Right along with unbolting the AC components and Cruise control components (which could both be reinstalled). The dealer tech in me died a little on that day, the day that I ruined a perfectly good steering column to make this thing more into a race car.  What I really want deep down in my heart is a race car.  Its quite liberating, and I'm glad to not have that giant watermelon for a steering wheel in this car.  It's becoming less and less like a grandma commuter everyday.  So i'm really glad I got this steering wheel on, plus it was a birthday present from my kids. 

Lots of guys don't like the hex quick release.  I think they're mostly used in circle track racing.  I get it, there's some play in it.  It is also completely un-detectable when racing.  All the race cars I've driven have had them and I couldn't possibly notice a problem with them.  So I didn't over think this one.  It was $21.99 and $16 for the spacer/adapter.  I get that the NRG's are nice, but I don't want to spend $150 to put a wheel on just to avoid some slop.  My trusty ol flux core welder did about 3x better welding this thing on than I expected too!

Other notable facts.  In my infinite wisdom, I didn't tighten my sway bar end links, so the washers/bushings fell out while driving.  I bought new quality battery terminals to replace the crappy aftermarket ones that are on it, bought a battery tie down, and bought some energy suspension sway bar end link bushings and washers. 

Also stripped the back seats, trunk carpet.  Started weighing everything that I've removed, back seats, trunk carpet, AC, Cruise, Stock steering wheel, etc. And I'm up to about 100 lbs, and haven't even really tried much yet!

Brake pads are still just about the last thing I really need before track night!

jfryjfry
jfryjfry HalfDork
5/23/18 5:12 p.m.

Fantastic!  Funny how the small things can have a disproportionate impact on our enjoyment of our cars.  

Make darned sure that your welds are bomber. It wouldn’t be the first time a driver found himself steering air. 

B13Birk
B13Birk Reader
6/4/18 8:43 p.m.

In reply to SuperTouring :

I meant to ask you. How are you felling about your strut and spring setup? I'm thinking about doing the same thing while i wait on my coilovers. How did they feel on your drive around? Thanks in advance. 

 

SuperTouring
SuperTouring New Reader
6/11/18 1:35 p.m.

In reply to jfryjfry :

You're right. I've been warned by others about how serious that hex attachment is.  I was going to weld it on the outside and on the inside of the hex, but stopped after I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the weld on the outside. But now that you've brought it up, I should probably run a quick bead on the inside of the hex adapter just to be darn sure. 

Thanks

SuperTouring
SuperTouring New Reader
6/11/18 2:02 p.m.

In reply to B13Birk :

I feel pretty good about it.  They felt fine, although I didn't hammer on it much.  I'm not basing my confidence in this setup on any scientific data... only my experience. I used to think everything in the car needed to be sorted perfectly before you hit the track.  If you want my real opinion, it is that an attitude like that will just keep you from the track entirely.

Don't mistake me for a seasoned racer, or a race car engineer.  I am neither of those. 

However, in my first wheel-to-wheel racing experience I was with a team that had 2 cars.  The miata shown in the OP, and a Mazda Protege 1.6L.  My first drive was in the protege.  It had no power, great brakes, and the car handled pretty good.  I would later encounter it that night while driving the miata in the dark and pouring rain, because it came up on my tail with a competent driver.  He stayed on my tail for the next 45 minutes until my stint was over, and the only reason he didn't pass me is because the miata had much better acceleration on the straights (LOL).  The Protege was sooooooo easy to drive, and it doesn't get any harder in the rain.  Whereas the Miata seemed to handle like a hockey puck in the rain

At the end of that race I learned more about the protege. It's setup is as follows: cut springs, stoptech sport front pads, OEM everything else.  

That put into perspective for me what is really important in racing.  I had considered that level of prep (or lack thereof) to be unacceptable on any race car. To me, having the perfect shocks, bushings, suspension arms, all the necessary bolt ons that you read about on the forums.... a lot of times it just keeps you buying the next part, when there's actual fun to be had on track with a stock car.  That Protege ran for 8 seasons like that with only one failure (transmission).  It won its very first race, a 24 hour race with Lemons. 

So IMO, it's not the struts that's going to make my car fast or slow.  Sure they could help, but my priority is getting on track first and foremost.  I'll be faster after a couple of track days than I would be with a nice set of coilovers, I think. 

On a more specific note, I think that people have bad luck with lowering these cars because the shock travel is gone after the drop, and then the spring rates they experience is that of their bump-stops. I mostly fixed that by modifying the strut mounts.  I still don't think that the springs are stiff enough, but it's really my only option other than cutting springs, going custom, or coilovers.  Hopefully they'll work, and I can pair them with some KYB struts and call it good.  We'll see! 

Probably a longer answer than you were expecting, sorry about that!

therealpinto
therealpinto Reader
6/11/18 2:13 p.m.

I have briefly tried standard 2,25" coilover springs over the P11 struts (but P10 are the same) and I think that it would work. So if you need stiffer springs it may be possible without going for coilovers right away.

Gustaf

SuperTouring
SuperTouring New Reader
6/11/18 4:12 p.m.

That had crossed my mind as a solution to the p10/p11's lack of spring options.  Seems like you would just have to modify the upper strut mount.  Then you could choose any spring rate you want.  Do you have any pictures Gustaf?

I'm sure a hundred things are going to need attention after my first track day, so this is pretty low on the list for me.  Only if the Tien springs prove to suck too bad will I do something about it. 

therealpinto
therealpinto Reader
6/13/18 3:54 a.m.

Yes, sorry, no pictures since it was more of a test to see if it might work at all.

I have to say though, at least on street-ish tires and not a stupidly quick track, "normal" lowering springs seem to work pretty well for us. Compared to the other cars in the same series that run much stiffer springs we are not that much slower. So I'm sure you'll have fun either way :-)

Gustaf

SuperTouring
SuperTouring New Reader
6/13/18 9:20 a.m.

In reply to therealpinto :

That's what I'm hoping for.  I would love nothing more than for these tiens to be good enough.  I want this car to be kept simple in every way possible. And I'm glad to have the good report on the lowering springs from another racer.  That's the best source!  

badwaytolive
badwaytolive Reader
6/13/18 10:25 a.m.

Great work!

I, too, am trying to do car things with (only) 2 kids under the age of 3. I am impressed with your progress!

Good luck for making your track night- I have found that having a (fun) deadline/carrot, like a track day, is an excellent way to keep focused. Currently I am without deadline/carrot and have the focus of a dog at a rabbit farm.

damen

SuperTouring
SuperTouring New Reader
6/13/18 1:27 p.m.

In reply to badwaytolive :

Thanks I appreciate that, Damen! I've gotta have a carrot or else it would probably start to feel pretty hopeless, with this being such a big project.  If I had any less time I'd have to pick a smaller project (probably no road racing).  Life is crazy enough with young kids, that even a once/year track outing has been keeping my hopes high. It keeps me interested in going out to the garage to put in some wrenching after everyone's gone to bed (and I should be in bed too).

Hope you find a carrot soon!

SuperTouring
SuperTouring New Reader
7/26/18 12:45 p.m.

Okay guys, kind of in a mad dash to get the car ready for the first track day.  While it's still a couple weeks out, time to work on the car has been hard to come by.  
 

I've been trying to make sure my brakes aren't going to melt off on the first day.  Speeds at this track are around 112 mph in the stock power miata.  I hope this car does better than that.  The really hard braking zone comes after the miata would be at about 102 mph.

Since my last update I've installed Stoptech Sport brake pads front and rear, with some cheap blank rotors.  They're one of the cheapest performance pads, so I could afford to buy a whole set.  I haven't found any bad reviews on them, and I know one Miata team uses them in endurance racing.  While they may not be a long term solution, I hope they'll get me through 2-3 track days. 

I've become obsessed with brake ducting.  All the teams I read about that have had huge brake problems or blow through a set of race pads every race, all seem to solve their problems with proper airflow to their brakes.  Now, I know ducts that go straight to the inside of the rotor is the correct method. But I simply do not see how that is possible on the G20 without A) very small hoses B) a 5+ feet of hoses with 4x 90 deg turns. 

This is what I've come up with (obviously not finished, this is just my idea).  

PLEASE tell me what you think if you have an opinion.  Do you think it'll work? Not work? Fall off? Let me know!

therealpinto
therealpinto Reader
8/1/18 6:03 a.m.

We have not been able to find a way to fit brake duct hoses on our P10, there's just no room that we can see.

We have been running large scoops on the "strut" but they would repeatedly break off so now we have nothing - although my plan is to make smaller scoops on the lower suspension arms instead.

Your solution seems to be a combination of hoses and scoops, may well work but I suspect that just removing the fog light covers and removing the hoses would work fine.

Gustaf

SuperTouring
SuperTouring New Reader
8/3/18 9:27 a.m.

In reply to therealpinto :

Thanks for the reply Gustaf. 

I see what you mean about the lack of room.  My setup took shape after realizing what I had in my mind was not going to work.  I also removed the deflectors as I just wasn't happy with them.  I removed the dust shields, and will leave the fog light holes as they are for the track day.  It should be fine for now.  

I think in the future I will use smaller 2" hose and try really hard to get it to work.  I will have to get creative on routing.  There's a guy on the NPOC facebook page who has 3" ducts... He got them to work, though I'm not sure about the durability.

 

therealpinto
therealpinto Reader
8/6/18 6:04 a.m.

Ah, nice to see, that IS creative.

Wonder how much flow you get through all the bends...

Gustaf

SuperTouring
SuperTouring New Reader
8/6/18 1:39 p.m.
therealpinto said:

Ah, nice to see, that IS creative.

Wonder how much flow you get through all the bends...

Gustaf

I wonder that too... Hard to say if there's much air getting to the brakes after changing directions so many times.  Ideally the hose would connect to the spindle on the back of the rotor, so that all the air was forced through the vanes.  But we both know how difficult thatwould be. 

SuperTouring
SuperTouring New Reader
8/6/18 1:39 p.m.

...4 days guys!

SuperTouring
SuperTouring New Reader
8/15/18 1:43 p.m.

Unbelievable!

I made it to the track AND THE CAR WORKED!!!

For some reason I was extremely stressed out leading up to Track Night.  I think that I was more stressed than I've ever been before racing, because I've never had such a big project be spread over such a long period of time.  This whole car was built mostly in 20-minute work sessions while kids were sleeping and I didn't have any immediate Dad duties to attend.  Needless to say this is not the ideal arrangement to complete a big project.  With such a lack of free time, the worry came from knowing that I don't have another engine rebuild left in me for the next couple years.  I want to move on to the cage, not mess with a rebuild again.  This engine had to work, and I had to get it right the first time. 

...and by-golly I think I've done it. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1up9N_T7J8&t=25s

This is the second session.  The first session was largely sitting in traffic.  Some of the guys ignored blue flags.  You're required to receive a point-by on a straight-away in order to pass.  Unfortunately my car was ONLY capable of passing in the corners.  For whatever reason, the other cars being on all-season tires or just inexperience, I was much much faster than everyone (that I encountered) in the first session.  The second session was better, with far less traffic, people gave point-by's when I needed them (and I gave a few too).

On to the car:  It did very well. 

Brakes: The brakes were good, much better than I expected.  I don't know how much wear they have, as I haven't inspected the car yet.  The performance was there, and I suspect that if I get the pads to last for an 8 hour race then the stock sized brakes will be sufficient.  The car hit about 105 mph on the straights, and I could easily brake from th 350' mark (where I would aim to hit in the miata). 

Handling: Suspension was soft, and there was body roll.  I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing, although getting new struts should be very helpful.  I'd love stiffer springs, but they're unavailable.  I suspect putting on new struts and maybe an addco rear bar will get the handling where I need it to be.  The way it sits, this car will probably be very competitive in the rain.  I think that adding front shock travel, and relocating the upper control arm mounting point did wonders for the handling!

Grip: My $100 used BFG Rivals were GREAT! Very sticky, great feedback, sliding was controllable.  Understeer came when I did something stupid.  Only oversteered once in an off-camber turn that I braked too late into.  I was able to hold significantly more speed in the corners than the street cars. 

Transmission: The shifting was good, but a bit of a grind if I shifted fast at all at 7500 rpm from 3rd to 4th gear. On to my biggest complaint of the car: the gearing.  Unfortunately the gearing is much different from the Miata that I've driven so much.  There's a big space between 2nd and 3rd gear.  I believe that the car would have been faster if I'd have considered that turn 12 (leading on to the front strait) is actually a second gear corner and not a 3rd gear corner in this car.  I should have been shifting to 2nd in turn 12, which is a big no-no in the miata.  I probably left a good amount of time in this section.  Turn's 7 & 12 are crucial because they lead on to the straights, and getting them wrong can really screw up your lap (especially in a low power car). I would LOVE to have the lower 3rd gear like SE-R's, or a lower final drive.... that's if there's room in the budget, but I can definitely race this trans as it sits if I can't upgrade.  Also, not having an LSD didn't seem to matter much. 

The Engine: The engine was good. Good power, no overheating, no problems! Until the checkered flag on the 2nd session.  The car started misfiring and the battery light came on.  I made it back to my trailer and found the car only had 9v at the battery while running.  Even though the car has a "brand new" reman alternator (bought by previous owner) with only a few miles on it... it still failed.  It's still under warranty, I'll exchange it and keep it in the box for a spare and buy a used OEM alternator. This cost me 20 minutes of track time but I was not disappointed because all of the important stuff worked.  About this time my wife walked up and surprised me, she was not supposed to be there but she got a baby sitter and drove up to the track in time to catch my 2nd session.  She even got a video of me running down a BRZ! (see youtube video).  Best wife ever!  I was happy to call it a successful night and pack up.

The Exhaust: Not that pretty. SOUNDS AWESOME!

 

Session 1: (timed with RaceChrono free app)

 

Session 2

 

Lap times are slower than I've been in the miata (1:36 is my best). My goal was 1:39.XX.  I'm not disappointed, as I'm confident that I could get there if I'd have been in 2nd in turn 12 and had another session.  Also, I don't know if the failing alternator had any effect on my power.  Ultimately the car still has more in it too, because there's plenty of weight that still needs to come out (lots of dash stuff, sound deadening, wiring, hvac, windows, regulators/motors, etc.).

Goal # 1 - COMPLETE!

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair MegaDork
8/15/18 2:41 p.m.

In reply to SuperTouring :

outstanding!

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
8/15/18 3:29 p.m.
SuperTouring said:

About this time my wife walked up and surprised me, she was not supposed to be there but she got a baby sitter and drove up to the track in time to catch my 2nd session.  She even got a video of me running down a BRZ! (see youtube video).  Best wife ever!  I was happy to call it a successful night and pack up.

The car is cool and the story is cool and finally getting to drive it in anger is super cool, but having someone who understands that something so irrational as racing is important and wanting to go see you shake down the car, well, that's the coolest.

 

SuperTouring
SuperTouring New Reader
8/15/18 3:48 p.m.
mazdeuce - Seth said:
SuperTouring said:

About this time my wife walked up and surprised me, she was not supposed to be there but she got a baby sitter and drove up to the track in time to catch my 2nd session.  She even got a video of me running down a BRZ! (see youtube video).  Best wife ever!  I was happy to call it a successful night and pack up.

The car is cool and the story is cool and finally getting to drive it in anger is super cool, but having someone who understands that something so irrational as racing is important and wanting to go see you shake down the car, well, that's the coolest.

 

Thanks Seth & AngryCorvair!  It was a pretty special moment.  I had my head under the hood testing the alternator output and she walked right up. It hit me right in the feels!  Fun part is, I got the whole thing on camera because in my haste to find out the charging problem I never stopped recording!

I appreciate the kind words guys. 

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