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infernosg
infernosg Reader
8/24/21 1:38 p.m.

In reply to dannyp84 :

I'm not sure, honestly. I didn't really fine tune the ignition until after the air box was on. I do have air temperature correction enabled, though. So if IATs get too high the ECU will start to pull timing. With the air box that's not likely to happen nearly as much.

I need to update this thread a bit. Nothing on the car has changed but I did an HPDE with AutoInterests at Summit Point Main back at the beginning of August. Since I mostly stick to Track Nights because of scheduling issues it was refreshing to have an instructor in the car with me. Especially since this was my first time at Summit Point. Unfortunately, I'm not sure of the ettique regarding filming sessions with an instructor so I didn't record any GoPro or Garmin video. In fact, it looks like I only took one picture:

I had an absolute blast. Summit Point is an amazing facility and my instructor was great. He definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone but there were no issues. I kind of wish I had the Catalyst going so I could have some laps for future reference. I got five 20 minutes sessions that day and was cleared for Novice-Solo so I could have run more since it was open track at the end of the day. I decided to end it on a high note since it was already 5 PM and I had a 3 hour drive home.

Next up was another SCCA TNiA at VIR this past Friday. Rotated the tires, flushed the brake fluid and sent it. Due to my excitement at VIR last time I decided I'd ease into this one. My instructor at Summit Point made a comment about not liking the TNiAs because they enforce bad habits. Since I've never had an instructor at VIR I could certainly understand that so I went into this session with the goal of being consistent. I was also sure to turn off the lap display on the Garmin. Despite the constant threat of rain the event went well. There was some steady rain between my first and second sessions but they kept the Intermediate and Advanced groups running and they did a good job of keeping the racing line dry. Grabbed a neat picture of a rainbow over turn 10:

I ended up not besting my previous lap time from May but I was definitely quicker in places and I never really got a completely clean lap. The local photographer got a neat shot of me coming up the esses too:

Here's the GoPro video from the second, and best session:

Also note my first attempt at some light video editing. What was really interesting about this event is the last session got delayed by over 30 minutes. Novice group runs last, which was supposed to be at 7:30 PM. Instead, we didn't go out until just after 8. Unfortunately my GoPro died before this session but the Garmin footage captures the changing light pretty good.

While neat at first I quickly realized my car is not built to race at night. The anemic sealed-beam headlights did little to light up the track in front of me or illuminate any of the corner stations adequately to ensure there were no issues. I finished the session with a light spin between 16 and 17 and it took a solid minute to get back on track between the damp grass and inability to see/judge any of the nearby corner stations. Fortunately I found an opening and made it onto the front straight just as the checker came out. Other than a broken throttle return spring (might have contributed to my spin) there doesn't appear to be any damage so I'll fix that and be ready to go for another TNiA at Dominion on September 16.

dannyp84
dannyp84 New Reader
8/24/21 2:34 p.m.

In reply to infernosg :

I don't know if they're available for the FC but I run Sev Marchal 7" H4 headlights on my RX-7, which look just like stock but the low beam is much better than the original headlights. Your car looks like a lot of fun to drive.

infernosg
infernosg Reader
8/25/21 9:32 a.m.

In reply to dannyp84 :

My car takes the (old) standard 7x6" rectangular sealed beam headlights. There are plenty of non-DOT-approved H4 conversion housings and even a variety of LED conversions. I don't usually drive the car at night so it's never been a priority especially considering their price.

The car is an absolute blast to drive and I know I'm not using all its potential. I still lack the experience and confidence to really throw it into the corners and I'm generally slow to roll onto the throttle coming out. You can hear I finally hit WOT in the videos. A lot of people mistake it for a peaky power band. It's really just me being slow...

infernosg
infernosg Reader
8/31/21 11:52 a.m.

My next track night is Sept. 19. Since I spun going through Hog Pen on my last lap at VIR I started looking over the car to make sure every was still okay. I caught the curbing pretty hard going off and fortunately there doesn't appear to be any damage.

One thing I did notice at VIR is a weird, almost crunchy feeling coming from the brakes. With the car off and stationary I can replicate the feeling and it produces an audible creaking sound. Almost like the noise of a spring stretching. Like metal-on-metal sticking and slipping. The source seems to be both front brake calipers. A quick internet search yielded some results suggesting it has to do with the caliper pistons and/or seals. I'll pull the front wheels today and see if anything looks suspicious. my HP+ pads are just about dead but I'm hoping to finish the season on this set.

While trying to diagnose the above issue I had my oldest help out by pressing the brake pedal while I poked around the car. One thing I immediately noticed was how much the booster/master cylinder assembly was moving with pedal application. Considering this was with a 9 year-old I can only imagine how much it moves when I'm breaking hard going into Roller Coaster at VIR at nearly 130 mi/hr. I always thought a master cylinder brace was kind of a gimmick but now I'm convinced. Rather than spend $100 on some pre-made device I spent <$20 at the local hardware store and made this:

Still a work in progress. The bolt I got is a little too long. Needs to be 10 mm shorter. I cleaned up the corners a bit and I didn't even have to relocate my catch can:

Yeah, it's a little offset but that's as close to the radius as a M12 nut would allow. It still needs finish sanding and paint but otherwise it's good enough for me. If I still had a MIG welder I'd put a small gusset between the two bolts for added strength but really the overall stiffness is dictated more by the strut tower than the bracket.

JeremyJ
JeremyJ Reader
8/31/21 12:06 p.m.

That's a cool idea with the bracket. I bet it will improve pedal feel under hard braking, too. Makes me want to go out and check mine for movement. 

infernosg
infernosg Reader
9/7/21 10:46 a.m.

Had some free time Friday afternoon/evening so I decided to tackle some of the pre-track day maintenance since my next few weekends are going to be busy. Got the brake fluid flushed and the master cylinder brace painted and installed.  I haven't noticed much of a difference on the street but I imagine I'll feel something under hard braking on track. While I was in there I noticed the pads, especially in the rear, were getting a little thin. I was hoping these would last the season but seeing as my last event is a two-day deal at VIR I went ahead and ordered a new set of HP+ pads. I also went ahead and ordered new rotors since these are something like 10 years old and have probably three seasons of track days on them. Probably not necessary but I'll swap over to the new stuff after Dominion next week.

Unfortunately, I do think I managed to flat spot all four tires to some extent in that spin at VIR. I didn't take pictures but I could clearly see tire wear in the "non-rotational" direction. I'm also getting a noticeable vibration at speed. The plan was to replace these tires after this season, which then changed to after Dominion and before VIR, but last night I saw I could get a new set of RS-4s from Tirerack delivered this week so I pulled the trigger. I was thinking about stepping down to 245/40R17 but oddly the 255/40R17 were cheaper so I stuck with that size. Delivery and installation is scheduled for this Friday, a full 6 days before Dominion.

While poking around under the car looking for other damage I decided to look at my air filter. Recall it's located where the passenger's side fog light would be and it's pretty exposed. This is what it looked like:

That's 7 events worth of dirt, bugs and rubber. Fortunately it cleaned up nicely. Since I was already making big purchases I finally pulled the trigger on another item I've been watching.

I was recently informed a HANS should ALWAYS be used with a 5/6 point harness and I had a 10% code with Summit Racing. It'll take some getting used to that's for sure.

Lastly, since posts are worthless without lots of pictures here's a photo from Cars & Coffee this past weekend:

Spent the better part of the previous evening washing 3 events worth of bugs, dirt and rubber off the car.

fidelity101 (Forum Supporter)
fidelity101 (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
9/7/21 11:11 a.m.
infernosg said:

In reply to dannyp84 :

My car takes the (old) standard 7x6" rectangular sealed beam headlights. There are plenty of non-DOT-approved H4 conversion housings and even a variety of LED conversions. I don't usually drive the car at night so it's never been a priority especially considering their price.

The car is an absolute blast to drive and I know I'm not using all its potential. I still lack the experience and confidence to really throw it into the corners and I'm generally slow to roll onto the throttle coming out. You can hear I finally hit WOT in the videos. A lot of people mistake it for a peaky power band. It's really just me being slow...

I went threw a slew of bad 7x6s from what I thought were reputable brands (I used to work in vehicle OEM lighting) and they all had been DOA or failed shortly after install - I must say pony-ing up for the truck-lite brand wasn't fun but the quality was much better and its plug n play and I can confirm it has held up to rally abuse with jumps/dirt/water crossings. 

JeremyJ
JeremyJ Reader
9/7/21 11:19 a.m.

I had Truck-Lites on my old XJ and they were amazing. 

infernosg
infernosg Reader
10/8/21 12:48 p.m.

Time to catch up. First up, SCCA TNiA at Dominion Raceway on September 16th. Unfortunately this one ended up being a washout. Pretty steady rain throughout the afternoon. Since I was working with brand new RS4s I took it easy the entire event. My best pace of the day was easily 15 seconds off my previous best time. Instead, I focussed on improving my line and gettings used to driving with the HANS. I've got track video but it's pretty meh. The only real highlight was that there was a track photographer who managed to get some neat evening/rain shots of the car.

The next event was the big one. Hyperfest at VIR where I registered for HPDE1. Since Dominion was slow, cool and uneventful I ended up not swapping brakes. I had purchased new pads and rotors for the event but those will just have to wait for 2022. I was super excited for this event since it would be my first instructed event at VIR and I would finally have someone to provide constructive feedback. I got there Thursday night as soon as the paddock opened and made camp for the weekend.

Not the fanciest of accommodations, I'll admit, but it worked. I had nothing going on Friday so I wandered around, spoke with some vendors, watched the UTCC and some drifting and met some fellow forum members. Even though I know I'll never be competitive I think the UTCC is something I'd like do in the future. After speaking with the Haltech guys I'm convinced the next big thing for the car will be upgrading to a newer Elite 1500 ECU and IC7 display. The functionality and control is more than a decade more advanced than the Platinum Sport ECU I'm current using. In the meantime, I've also got some ideas how to improve the tune of my car over the Winter.

Saturday started HPDE. I had an awesome instructor who went out of his way to find me and introduce himself on Friday. We also had some extra classroom time in the evening. At his recommendation I initially ran the entire track in only gears 3 and 4. While this definitely results in me being smoother and eventually led to faster lap times it's painful coming out of some of the slower corners below 4000 RPM. We ultimately settled on downshifting to 2nd before going into the essess since the acceleration benefit outweighed the negative of me over-slowing Turn 4. In the future I'm going to need to learn how to maintain smoothness while downshifting two gears; especially at Turns 4 and 12. Those lead to the two longest straights of the track. It also wants to drop into second for Turn 1 but that means I'm likely over-slowing and will have to shift back up into 3rd before Turn 3. I'm hoping in the future I can carry more speed through 1 to make this not needed. What would really be useful is a shorter final drive. Something in the 4.7+ range would be perfect.

My instructor graciously allowed me to use my Catalyst during the sessions provided the visible timer was off (already done). This will be invaluable going forward as I'll always be able to compare my solo sessions back to these instructed ones. I gradually improved throughout the day on Saturday and even into the first session on Sunday. My biggest revelations were just how fast I could take Turns 3 and 10. Reviewing the footage shows there's still plenty of room for improvement. It looks like I'm also leaving a lot of speed on the table for Turns 14-17. Speaking of footage, here's the Catalyst video of my fastest lap, which occurred late in the first session Sunday morning.

 

So why was my best lap in the first session on Sunday when there were still 3 more that day? Well, I finally had my first big failure. On the immediate next lap I was coming out of Turn 5 going into the flat esses, accelerating hard, when at about 7500 RPM I hear a "pop-BANG" and the engine shuts down. I'm able to slowly pull off to the right side. Fearing the worst, I'm expecting to see a cloud of smoke and fluid on the ground in my rear view. Oddly, nothing's to be found. I still have full electrical power and all readings look good so my instructor gives me the go-ahead to try to restart the car. It cranks freely with no strange sounds but won't fire up. So we sit and wait for the tow back to the paddock...

While being towed we speculate that I've blown a fuse or ignition coil. It's not until we're back at the paddock and I get out that I see the extent of the damage. The first thing I see is a snapped belt dangling beneath the car (apparently this was visible to others as I sat on the side of the track).

After opening the hood I see the full extent of the carnage:

The quick rundown is:

  1. Trigger wheel for crank position sensor is gone along with damage to wheel hub spacer and crank pulley
  2. Crank position sensor is completely destroyed
  3. Water pump pulley has impact damage
  4. Damage to the lower half of the fan shroud
  5. Oh, there's the trigger wheel - part of it is embedded in the hood and protruding through to the outside

Well, that explains the no start. Can't fire the injectors or ignition without crank position. The prevailing theory is the forward-most belt snapped and took everything else with it. The good news is the engine turns over and feels fine. The bad news is the hood is permanently damaged and it's time to load the parts/money cannon.

After reviewing my Catalyst footage I discovered I could pull the video for the entire run and not just specific laps. This allowed me to see if the moment of failure was visible. Sure enough, it is, and it's much more violent than I realized at the time. I did a little editing and made a short video summarizing the occurrence.

 

Going forward I'm going to need a new trigger kit. I've sent what's left of the current one back to the supplier for inspection. I'm also going to upgrade from a double v-belt system to a more modern multi-ribbed belt setup. Best I can think is even though both belts are the same PN from the same manufacturer one was slightly longer than the other. Mostly likely the forward belt was over-tensioned and old (both show signs of rubber cracking). Lesson learned - inspect belts as well. So now I wait for parts. My season is likely over so I'm not in a huge hurry.

dannyp84
dannyp84 Reader
10/9/21 5:20 p.m.

That's a shame it damaged the hood, your paint looks awfully nice from the photos you've posted. a couple years ago the crank pulley sheared off my friend's supercharged FC at idle speed and just fell on the ground, we were all grateful that it didn't happen moments before that when he was running 7-8k rpm on track. I also delaminated the crank pulley on my is300 recently which has a rubber section to dampen vibration but which also fails, I've been meaning to look for an upgraded version.

infernosg
infernosg Reader
10/11/21 8:28 a.m.

In reply to dannyp84 :

Yeah, it's a shame but I knew the paint/body work wasn't going to stay perfect forever given I always had plans of tracking this car. I was going to leave the wheel embedded in the hood but the company that makes the kit wanted it back so they could take a look. I don't think their kit was at fault but maybe they can use this for some kind of product improvement. Right now I'm thinking I can cut that whole area back about 3" to remove the damaged section. It would just be further opening the hole already in the hood and I don't think it moves the opening far enough back to put it in a high pressure zone. The more I think about it the more I think I can use this to my advantage if I ever decide to duct the back side of the radiator.

infernosg
infernosg Reader
11/1/21 2:21 p.m.

Well just under 4 weeks after Hyperfest and I'm back up and running. Ended up getting a new trigger kit and a micro-v belt conversion kit. Step one was to remove the main pulley.

Made sure the engine was at TDC for the next step and was careful to keep the Woodruff key in the crankshaft. Since I was in there I replaced the front main seal as well since I'd be using a new front pulley. Next step was to install a new (to me) factory front pulley hub with the micro-v  conversion pulley.

The new pulley doesn't come with any timing marks so I had to make my own. I made sure to align the engine at TDC before removing the old setup and didn't move anything while I transferred the mark (hammerless punch and some white paint). The old pulley had -10, 0, +10 and +20 degrees but I really only use TDC to sync the ECU so that's all I marked. Last step was to install the other two pulleys, the new Hall Effect sensor and find a belt.

Really wanted a Gate's Performance belt but it looks like the only way to get those is through online ordering so I made due with a NAPA belt for the time being. K060370 equivalent for posterity. Also wanted to make sure I picked the right size before dropping money on the more expensive version.

For whatever reason my old pulley and the OEM hub have different bolt patterns. This means the trigger offset I was previously using wasn't accurate. Enlisted Kid#1 to crank the engine while I fired the timing light to get the new setting in the ECU. Had to had 25 degrees in the end. After that it fired right up and after some fresh fuel and some WOT pulls to knock off the dust it's like nothing ever happened. I'll need to keep an eye (ear?) on the belt as I'm getting some squeal at start up and free revving in neutral. One of these days I'll rig up a modern belt tensioning system so I have have to place around with loosening three bolts and prying on the alternator with a large screwdriver to set tension.

Since the season is effectively over it's now time to think about what to do over Winter. The biggest thing is building some kind of front undertray/mild splitter for the front of the car. I don't have any issue forcing air through the oil cooler and radiator with the ducting but the car gets a little light in the front at high speeds. This is especially nerve-wracking at "rougher" tracks like Dominion Raceway. Plans are for a simple birch plywood splitter that doesn't stray too far from the contour of the bumper cover. I'm not looking to gain massive downforce that I would need to offset with a rear wing just yet.

I've also been contemplating adding another oil cooler. I see 225F pretty regularly and while so far there don't appear to be any adverse effects, RX7 wisdom suggests that's a little too high. My current best idea involves a FD RX7 or even RX8 side mounted oil cooler where the driver's side foglight used to be. These already have built in thermostats so provided they fit in the specified area it's a simple matter of making some brackets and some new oil cooler lines. Since it would be in series with my existing cooler I'm thinking pressure drop won't be an issue.

Also, while the car generally runs well I'm tempted to tweak the tune some more. I may switch back to alpha-N (TPS) reference since everyone seems to suggest that's the better load reference with ITBs even though I don't have many issues (if any?) with MAP. The other thing I want to play with is decel fuel cut (aka overrun). I've never used it but the guys at Haltech have suggested it may clear up my 4000-3000 RPM hesitation during deceleration. Speaking of Haltech I'm really looking into upgrading to the newer Elite ECU. If I find one for the right price I'll probably jump since I can keep my existing wiring. I think it's just one or two pins need to be moved around. The Elite 1500 opens up so many options. The things I'm looking forward to are individual tables/settings for each rotor: base fuel, injector flow, injector dead time and closed loop fuel control. It also gives the option for long term fuel trim and drive-by-wire functionality, which is something I'm serious considering.

Other than that it'll be regular maintenance for 2022. I'm thinking I need new inner and outer tie rods and probably front wheel bearings. I already have new pads and rotors. I have some small play in the spherical bearings at the front of my rear control arms. It's not the bearings but rather the housings pressed into the control arms. Even when new they were more snug than press fit so if I get ambitious I'll pull the control arms and have the housings at least tack welded in.

The plan next year is to do 7-8 events again but more with more instruction. Just two of my 2021 events were with in car instruction. Since I'm still firmly in the beginner/novice category they are far more valuable than simple track nights. I'm still not sure what my long term goals are but I'd like to move up into the intermediate groups next year.

infernosg
infernosg Reader
12/1/21 12:12 p.m.

I've driven the car twice since replacing the crack trigger and position sensor. With the colder weather it isn't as pleasant to drive. Rattles, squeaks, harder starts and just generally running too cool. I noticed my throttle feels like it's sticking open slightly on slower decels from lower engine speeds. Either my return springs are getting weak or the cable is hanging up a bit. It's not an issue during faster deceleration from higher RPM so I wouldn't notice on track but it can be felt driving around town. I don't have decel fuel cut (a.k.a. overrun) enabled but I'm told this could help. I'll worry about that later considering the changes I'm about to make...

I decided the order a Haltech Elite 1500 ECU to replace my Platinum Sport 1000. My bank account regrets it but I took advantage of Cyber Monday and saved $300. There's nothing wrong with the PS1000 but I want to upgrade to an ECU designed in the past decade and take advantage of newer features. Biggest things are individual fuel tables/settings for each rotor and VE tuning with injector staging. I also gain another analog input, which will be used for fuel pressure, and the ability to upgrade to drive-by-wire in the future should I want it.

I want to put injectors back in the stock primary location for better idle quality and accel enrichment. I already have a set of ID725 injectors and I'm debating whether to drop those in the primary location and keep the ID1000s as secondaries or pick up a set of smaller injectors (550 cc/min?) to use as primaries and make the 725s the secondaries. I'm hitting 90%+ duty cycle on the 2x 1000s and I calculate that will drop to ~60% with 2x 725s and 2x 1000s or ~75% with 2x 550s and 2x 725s. The latter seems more appropriately sized but doesn't leave as much for future expansion.

infernosg
infernosg Reader
12/3/21 4:44 p.m.

Putting this here for future reference. My tentative 2022 HPDE schedule that's been approved by SWMBO:

3/19-20: VIR with NASA MA

4/15-16: Summit Point (Main?) with NASA MA

5/21-22: Dominion Raceway with SCCA WDCR

6/25-26: Summit Point (Main?) with NASA MA

7/16-17: Summit Point Shenandoah with SCCA WDCR

8/20-21: VIR with NASA MA

9/25-25: Dominion Raceway with SCCA WDCR

10/15-16: Summit Point Jefferson with SCCA WDCR

It's worth pointing out this was only approved for one day per weekend so I'll probably be doing that instead of both days for most if not all events. I wasn't planning on four events at Summit Point but I wanted to hit all three tracks there next year. That, along with limiting myself to one event per month and requiring at least two VIR visits more or less set the schedule. There's also the Oak Tree Bowl II at VIR with the Tidewater Sports Car Club (TSCC) in February and another HPDE at Dominion with SCCA in November but I'm not sure about either of those. VIR weather in February is iffy and I'm not sure my car or my bank account can handle 10 events in one year.

dannyp84
dannyp84 Reader
12/8/21 11:23 a.m.
infernosg said:

I've driven the car twice since replacing the crack trigger and position sensor. With the colder weather it isn't as pleasant to drive. Rattles, squeaks, harder starts and just generally running too cool. I noticed my throttle feels like it's sticking open slightly on slower decels from lower engine speeds. Either my return springs are getting weak or the cable is hanging up a bit. It's not an issue during faster deceleration from higher RPM so I wouldn't notice on track but it can be felt driving around town. I don't have decel fuel cut (a.k.a. overrun) enabled but I'm told this could help. I'll worry about that later considering the changes I'm about to make...

I decided the order a Haltech Elite 1500 ECU to replace my Platinum Sport 1000. My bank account regrets it but I took advantage of Cyber Monday and saved $300. There's nothing wrong with the PS1000 but I want to upgrade to an ECU designed in the past decade and take advantage of newer features. Biggest things are individual fuel tables/settings for each rotor and VE tuning with injector staging. I also gain another analog input, which will be used for fuel pressure, and the ability to upgrade to drive-by-wire in the future should I want it.

I want to put injectors back in the stock primary location for better idle quality and accel enrichment. I already have a set of ID725 injectors and I'm debating whether to drop those in the primary location and keep the ID1000s as secondaries or pick up a set of smaller injectors (550 cc/min?) to use as primaries and make the 725s the secondaries. I'm hitting 90%+ duty cycle on the 2x 1000s and I calculate that will drop to ~60% with 2x 725s and 2x 1000s or ~75% with 2x 550s and 2x 725s. The latter seems more appropriately sized but doesn't leave as much for future expansion.

Do you drive the car on the street much? I was visiting Logan at Defined recently, and I sat in a really mint FC he had and couldn't believe how comfy and supportive the stock seat was compared to my FB's. He said the FC was definitely the most grand touring oriented generation of RX7, but that the stock n/a FC felt really slow after he had been driving a GSLSE 1st gen..

infernosg
infernosg Reader
12/8/21 1:19 p.m.

In reply to dannyp84 :

I really don't drive this on the street now that I've been tracking it more seriously. I'll occasionally take it to a Cars & Coffee or do a diagnostic cruise but that's about it. 30-60 minutes is about my limit for spending time in it.

How's Logan doing these days? I haven't spoken with him in years even though he's the one who ported my engine. The FCs are definitely GT cars in stock form. I'm curious what trim the car was that day. In my experience the early S4 base model seats aren't much better than those in my SA. The seats in my 89 GXL were nice enough for long drives but really super supportive. TII and GTUs seats are supposedly better. It's amazing how agile and quick 1st Gens feel. My FC and SA weigh approximately the same and are similar overall dimensions but the SA feels like such a smaller car.

dannyp84
dannyp84 Reader
12/8/21 2:24 p.m.

In reply to infernosg :

The FC I sat in was an S5 convertible, it had the little leather string tie on the shift knob and I want to say the seats were different materials as far as the center vs the bolsters if I remember correctly. Logan is good but quite busy! He's going to put together a a 13b for me with GSLSE housings, my 12a irons, and FC rotors which are a bit lighter, I'll be quite happy with roughly 180 whp on a bridgeport and he feels confident he can beat that. He's got a ton of rebuild jobs for people who just want their RX-7s to run well in stock form, plus some high dollar 4 rotor builds. He also has a very interesting project brewing in his storage garage, but I don't know if that's public yet. If you pulled into his shop parking lot, you would assume RX-7s were a common vehicle, lots to do for a one man operation.

infernosg
infernosg Reader
2/7/22 11:17 a.m.

Signed up for the first HPDE at VIR March 19 and 20 so prep for the season needs to start. It's been unusually cold in Central VA this Winter so I haven't been productive. The Elite 1500 ECU came in and while converting from my Platinum 1000 ECU is a little more complicated than I thought I think I have it figured out. I have until March 17 to do the following:

-Get fuel injectors cleaned and inspected

-Install new ECU. Confirm car still runs as expected

-Replace fluids

-Clean/replace filters

-Clean and inspect spark plugs. Replace if needed

-Replace rod ends and install safety washers on forward outer tie rods

-Clean and lube all bushings

-Nut/bolt brakes and suspension

-Install and bed brake pads

-Lube throttle cable

The plan is to do 8-9 HPDEs this year with NASA, SCCA and AutoInterests at Dominion, VIR and all three Summit Point circuits.

infernosg
infernosg Reader
3/16/22 4:17 p.m.

So the first event of the year is a few days away. Car has been cleaned and numbers are applied so it's go time. I accomplished just about everything I set out to except for getting the injectors cleaned and inspected and flushing/replacing the coolant. I still may try to get those done before the next event (April 9 at Dominion).

The only nagging issue is oil pressure has been reading lower than I remember. Around 70 psi above 3000 RPM instead of 75. It's not a huge difference but I'm not sure if it's an engine thing or ECU thing. I have video evidence of 75 psi last October at VIR and I've only driven the car a half dozen times since then. Seems unlikely something would have changed in the engine. If it is I have an idea. More on that below. I did replace the sensor because I thought the old one was leaking internally (oil inside the connector). That didn't make a difference, unfortunately. The sensor settings are all the same in the ECU and I didn't move any sensor grounds so that shouldn't be it either. The Elite ECU is wired slightly differently so I had to make some changes so perhaps I have an extra voltage draw somewhere. Regardless, I'm going to send it this weekend and hope for the best.

I still plan on dropping the oil pan and pulling the front cover. Not sure when I'll get around to this. I guess it depends what pressure looks like at VIR. One thing I know I neglected to do was add sealant around an o-ring that seals between the front housing and cover. You can see it just next to the oil pump chain in this picture.

Normally, the front cover gasket has a part that surrounds the o-ring. I didn't use a gasket - just sealant. This is a trick to compress the o-ring more and to build a little more pressure. In hindsight, I'm thinking I should have also applied sealant around the o-ring. It's possible I've always been getting a little blow by there. My pressure regulator is supposed to bypass at 80-85 psi but I've never seen much more than 75 psi hot. So other than the usual consumable items needed (other gaskets, o-rings, etc.) I picked up a modified oil pump. I'm already using the high-flow turbo version but this one is new and has a groove machined for an o-ring.

The normal arrangement doesn't include any kind of sealing against the front housing. The next parts of the equation are a regulator and control valve spring from the FD RX7, which should in theory bring my oil pressure over 100 psi. I should add here that everyone seems to recommend shimming the control valve spring but I don't understand the reasoning. The FD regulator bypasses at 110 psi but the control valve is much higher than that - 150 psi or something. I don't see how shimming something with a higher pressure relief will make any difference. The last puzzle piece is a high capacity oil pan. I want the extra volume for added thermal mass. Unfortunately Pineapple Racing is no longer making their version so I have to look elsewhere. I know of a few options but they're from smaller shops and I have some concerns about lead times. Hopefully once I get all these installed I will reliably see oil pressure over 90 psi, which seems about right for my engine power and speed.

infernosg
infernosg Reader
3/21/22 3:34 p.m.

It took nearly 11 years but I finally completed a FULL NASA HPDE weekend. My last two attempts ended with car issues: destroyed crank position sensor (VIR, October 2021) and blown engine (Mid-Ohio, April 2011). Was a bit of a rough weekend driving wise. I expected to be slow/hesitant coming off a 5 month break and my times steadily improved on Saturday until I got over-ambitious going into snake (flat esses) resulting in a spin. Stayed on track but my confidence was shattered for the rest of the day. Also had a weird lock up going into Horseshoe under what I thought was very light brake pressure. That resulted in me being over-cautious going into Turn 1 for the rest of the weekend. Ended with a clean day on Sunday and finally managed to drive the car onto the trailer at the end so I'll call it a win.

I think the main things I need to work on are confidence and using all of the track. I'm getting a good feeling of where the maximum brake threshold is and how to modulate around it. It's a matter of staying in the throttle longer, then going straight into smooth, firm braking before turning in. Then get back on the power quickly and smoothly while opening the wheel. Looking at my data I find myself coasting a bit before the braking zone and then applying good pressure but too early resulting in over-slowing for the corner. I end up coasting to the apex and (too) slowly rolling back onto the throttle because I'm not opening up the wheel and using all the track. My instructor thinks I'm ready for HPDE2 but I opted not to take the test due to my performance on Saturday. He still urged me to reach out to the NASA Mid-Atlantic organizers about classing since by the next time I run with NASA (June 25-26 at Summit Point) I'll have had two full HPDE weekends and three single day HPDEs under my belt.

Next up is a single day HPDE at Dominion Raceway on April 9th with the DC Region SCCA.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
3/21/22 8:47 p.m.

RX-8 front cover gasket eliminates all O ring issues.  It is metal, doesn't use an O ring. WHEN, not if, oil pressure flexes the cover away from the front housing, usually because you gave it too many revs with cold oil, it will reseal instead of blowing the O ring out.

I have found the front cover O ring in my oil filter pedestal before!

It is a direct fit, you can either trim off the water pump housing part or use it with a little sealant to fill in an open spot.  Have done it both ways.

infernosg
infernosg Reader
3/22/22 1:48 p.m.

In reply to Pete. (l33t FS) :

The thing I haven't figured out is if the RX8 gasket works with the early style front housing castings. I have the thin boss that doesn't use the plastic backup washer. So I think I'm just stick with what I know (o-ring and sealant) and really make sure things are sealed up this time. Another thought I had is I tapped and plugged the OMP feed port on the front cover. I've read some people saying it's better to do that on the front housing instead. What kind of pressures were you seeing when you blew out the o-ring? I usually let the car warm up until water temperatures are 100F before even moving and even then I'm usually shifting no higher than 4000 RPM until it's full warmed up (water >= 180F, oil >=140F).

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
3/22/22 2:06 p.m.

In reply to infernosg :

I gave been using them on 12A and GSL-SE parts since 2011.

Should be fine smiley

infernosg
infernosg Reader
3/24/22 10:28 a.m.

In reply to Pete. (l33t FS) :

I'll seriously have to try that out the next time I have the front cover off. So you don't use the o-ring at all with the metal gasket? I see Pineapple seals a little spacer thing they claim needs to be used but I think that only applies to the later castings. What about the metal gasket from the Cosmo? Any pros/cons of using that instead of the RX8? Seems it would fit better without the cutting/sealing.

Unfortunately, I'm under a bit of a time crunch so I'll still be using the o-ring and RTV this time around. My next event is on the 9th so I need to have the car buttoned up and confirm everything still works as intended before then. Getting everything apart with the engine in the car was a new experience.

I'm glad I decided to bite the bullet and drain the coolant and pull the water pump and radiator. The FSM claims it can be done without this but having gone through they process I now know it would have been a mistake to try. Let's take a closer look at that o-ring.

Well, it's still there. Maybe a little pinched but overall looks fine. Definitely confirmed I didn't use any RTV around it. I will this time. No more pictures at this point since my hands got sufficiently oily. The new oil pump is installed and I tapped the front housing feed for the (non-existent) OMP to M5x0.8 and made a small plug out of some all-thread I had lying around. There was no evidence of oil bypassing the RTV before but I figured this couldn't hurt. Slathered the tap in oil first to catch all the shavings since that port leads directly to the front bearing. Crossing my fingers that worked.

Unfortunately my oil pan baffled was borked after removing. A downside of using Permatex Ultra Black, I guess. I'll try to be a little more conservative on its application this time. I also need to straighten out the oil pan flange a bit for the same reason. I have a new baffle as well as the water pump gaskets on order. Hoping they'll get here by the weekend so I can wrap this up then. That'll give me almost two full weeks to shakedown the car and complete my track prep.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
3/24/22 1:26 p.m.

No O ring at all.  Works fine.

I know nothing of Cosmo gaskets.  Using an RX-8 gasket is easy in the USA because it was sold here.

 

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