GameboyRMH MegaDork
11/4/16 9:12 a.m.

So there's some not-so-bad news on the brakes. The grooves in the front-left are smoothing themselves out quickly, although there's one big gash that might still require resurfacing to fix. I told the mechanic about all this and he thinks the problem on the right-rear is due to the pad being badly shaped from the ratty old rotors. Some sanding might be needed there to speed things up.

I'm worried the PS pump might be the next engine accessory to fail. I'm hearing the familiar "bad bearing" noise coming from that area.

GameboyRMH MegaDork
11/7/16 2:09 p.m.

So on Friday evening I got the toe adjusted at the last minute before the alignment shop closed, I'll have to get it back there to have the camber set sometime this week. It seems to have resolved the steering pull problem. I was running a bit too much camber in the rear and not enough in the front, but at least it was equal on both sides (-0.7 F, -2.5 R, would like -2.5F -2.0 R)

I also had the rear toe set back to's a small amount of toe-in, don't remember exactly how much, but the car seemed to spin a bit too easily with zero toe on the rear. Looking at the suspension geometry, the outside rear wheel is going to toe-out anyway as the suspension is compressed. I lowered the tire pressures to 37F/23R, I figured it would help with the lumpy and gritty track.

On Saturday I just finished tidying things up, didn't get any real mechanical work done on the car but there was nothing critical to do. I told the electrician/tuner about the stalling problem, he said that at this point, trying to fix it with anything short of tuning the engine with a wideband would be taking shots in the dark.

I'll update with what happened on Sunday later, with video.

GameboyRMH MegaDork
11/7/16 9:27 p.m.

On Sunday when I got to the track, I got to give the new steering rack a proper test for the first time. I gave the wheel some quick twists back and forth to clean the tires and the resulting movement was almost go-kart-like. And it's not noticeably harder to turn than before, it's still easy to steer with one hand.

Next I saw the course. Kind of similar to the previous one, it had a big wide-open section that would be good for high-powered cars, which was bad news for me. There was a tight turnaround at the far end, I knew my handbrake didn't have a chance of locking up the rear wheels in its current state but I figured I could make a tight turn through it.

More bad news, two Westfield Megabirds were competing, one with a turbo 'busa engine and one with a 660kW electric powertrain

On my first run I didn't make it through the turnaround and had to reverse. Then a sway bar link tab slipped again so I had to abort the run and fix that.

On the second run I tried to drive through the turnaround again, picking my entry angle carefully, and now I was sure it was impossible. The only option left was a "strategic knockdown" on the cones at the exit. Now I knew I was screwed, the only question was how hard.

On the third run I clipped a bunch of cones and ruined the run. On the 4th run I did almost the best I could:

There are a couple of spots where I could've gone faster, and the engine stall cost me a second, but I probably lost a good 10sec+ just from not having a working handbrake. It was essential for the turnaround at the end and would've helped greatly at the turnaround near the start.

After the event I saw some brake fluid seeping from the right-rear. Checked the level and took the car right back to the shop, it turns out it's coming from the caliper itself. So today that was being fixed along with the slider boots, handbrake adjustment, and some sanding on the right-rear brake pad. Tomorrow the laser alignment will be completed.

So there are two big problems to fix for the next event in February: First, I need some kind of working handbrake. I'll give the cable handbrake one last try and if it can't be made to lock up the rears reliably, it'll be time to build a custom hydraulic handbrake. Trying to compete without one is rolling the dice.

Next, this car won't have the potential to compete at the pointy end of the field for long at this rate. The kind of firepower being brought to bear these days makes a mockery of anything that was competing when this project was started. If I'm ever gonna win the championship with this car I'll have to greatly increase its performance within the next year before the kind of performance required to win exceeds the potential of both the AE92 platform and my wallet. There are already cars out there that I can only beat with reliability and driving skill.

On a positive note the car's handling great even without a proper alignment, the back end isn't too loose anymore and the quick steering makes the car more agile by effectively increasing the speed at which I can turn the front wheels. A couple of former series champions working the course said my car had the best braking among the closed-wheel cars and the cornering looked top-notch.

I'm going to avoid doing much more work on the car this week since I need to do work on the Samurai for the last offroad rally of the year this weekend. After that, I'll be doing some more work to get the AE92 ready for a track day near the end of the month.

GameboyRMH MegaDork
11/10/16 12:06 a.m.

Up at late hours now because I was up real late last night...some news is too awful to wake up to.

Yesterday I got the car back from the alignment shop. They got -1.5deg of camber on the rear, but because of the angle of the camber plate and the increased caster on the front, only -1deg of front caster. They recommended I test it first to avoid going too aggressive on the front camber with the increased dynamic camber and killing front grip. I think they were probably being too conservative but I'll give this setup a try for now. I might need to modify these camber plates into independent camber & caster plates, or at least a rotated plate with a better angle to resolve this.

The brake work had already been done and the rear discs were starting to wear in more evenly. Tried the handbrake and WHOA IT'S SHARP! Like a modern car, and no drag! This is awesome! Probably won't need a hydraulic handbrake now! And to think the original engine builder thought the stock handbrake system was hopeless even with the EBC Yellowstuff pads. I didn't think it could be this good...if I knew, I would've worked hard to get it fixed and adjusted before the event!

hhaase Reader
11/10/16 7:41 a.m.

If you ever come up with a solution to the slipping swaybar tabs, let me know. I've been suffering from the same thing on my MR2.

GameboyRMH MegaDork
11/10/16 7:51 a.m.

I know it's possible to make them hold long-term, something I did when diassembling the whole suspension started this. The solution seems to be a combination of angling the tabs far inward so that the line between the mounting points of the link is as close to vertical as possible, and a heaping helping of tightness. So far mine have held for 3 autocross runs which is a new record since I took everything apart.

In the longer term I plan to fabricate brackets that will attach the sway bar links directly to the upright/shock bottom. This will eliminate the tabs on the coilovers and give me more room for wider wheels.

Edit: There's a chance my sway bar tabs were held in place partly by rust before. I've been more careful about keeping the coilover threads WD40'd up these days to keep things from rust-seizing in place.

GameboyRMH MegaDork
11/15/16 10:45 a.m.

Ran across a pic of what the planned wheel size I'm looking at would look like. Mmm yes

This car belongs to Hiro Protagonist on rollaclub. He said fender rolling might be a good idea but isn't necessary. I'd consider some kind of fender mod, especially if the wheels end up projecting past the fenders even slightly. I know how much more muck that kicks up onto the sides of the vehicle from experience with my Samurai.

These are 15x8 +25s on an AE92 hatch, which is the same car suspension-wise. The tires are 195/50/15 which would be my emergency fallback size, ideally I'd run 225/45/15.

GameboyRMH MegaDork
11/21/16 12:23 p.m.

Had to get the car re-weighed today, came out at 1030kg which is 2270lbs, with all the usual street driving stuff and a full tank of gas. About what I expected.

The crank sensor vibration is still causing trouble at high revs, I'm thinking about connecting it to a small bracket connected to one or two of the oil pan bolts via a turnbuckle to hold it steady.

trucke Dork
11/21/16 1:14 p.m.

That's pretty light. My FX16 is just a tick over 2,300 lbs.

GameboyRMH MegaDork
11/21/16 1:30 p.m.

I was kind of cheating because I don't have the AC compressor in, putting that back in wlll bring it close to 2300 I'm sure. Also I have those lightweight JDM bumpers (more like air dams) with no crash structure inside

oldeskewltoy UltraDork
11/21/16 6:37 p.m.

my AE71 is around 1000 kilos... originally!

Owning an AE95(sedan) and the AE71... it is impressive you have gotten the weight down as much as you have.... what I've notriced about the whole E9 series... they are MUCH better assembled then the earlier cars... even an AE86 isn't as well built as the E9

GameboyRMH MegaDork
11/23/16 8:34 a.m.

I actually haven't done much to lighten this car, it still has a full interior. Most of the lightness is just due to JDM vs. US options (particularly the bumpers), a lack of the increased sound deadening on factory GTSes, and the vastly lighter SR5 front seats.

Last night I was fiddling with the crank sensor again and I think I've got it in a decent position now. I set it very very close to the wheel, and although I still get sync loss if the car shudders when moving off from a stop, I did a few runs to the redline and didn't have any problems at higher revs.

Last things to do before the track day on Sunday are an oil change, gear oil check (something around there has a slight drip) and front alignment change.

GameboyRMH MegaDork
11/27/16 6:04 p.m.

Well I should recap the last few days leading up to today. It doesn't have a happy ending.

Earlier in the week things mostly went smoothly, the only trouble was that the gearbox did indeed have a leak and had lost most of its oil, through an axle seal again. Don't know if it's the same one that failed before or if only one was changed the first time and the other failed. Got -1.5deg camber and about 2.6deg caster on the front near the maximum inward position on the camber plates.

This morning I got to the track day:

The car seemed to be working well when I got there. On the first session a sway bar link tab slipped again within the first 2 laps and I had to head back in and fix it. On the second session everything seemed to be working fine and I started focusing on finding good lines around the track. No problems with heat in the brakes or engine. A few laps in I started to notice what sounded like some pinging between 6-7krpm so I stayed under 6krpm for the rest of the session just in case. Towards the end of the session I came in and checked some temperatures with an infrared gun. The top tank of the radiator was under 190F and the oil cooler was around 230F, not bad.

Later I started the engine up and in the rearview mirror, smoke. Got out of the car and smoke was streaming out of the tailpipe. It looked like coolant smoke but any smoke suddenly appearing in such quantity was bad. Looks like that questionably-fit head gasket had let go. That was it for the day, and the year, and maybe next year's autocross championship.

Then on the way home, suddenly I was getting such terrible sync loss that the car was barely driveable. I barely puttered home with just a hint of power at low revs. Why that's happened, I have no idea, I've been too depressed to get under the car and look.

When I got home I pulled the SD cards from the GoPro and RCP, I look on the GoPro's card and there's nothing. I run photorec and find no footage from the day. I have two guesses on why there's no video, most likely in the heat of the moment I consistently pressed the wrong button on the remote which I've used many times before. They are two similar buttons right next to each other.

Less likely, the microSD got loose in the full-size SD adapter. It is a loose fit and I'll get another one that fits tighter to be safe.

At least I got data, I'll have to look at it in a data analysis program when I feel like it. Had a quick look at the raw data and the car has sustained cornering well over 1G, maybe as much as 1.3G so at least the suspension's working.

GameboyRMH MegaDork
11/30/16 12:12 p.m.

Public holiday today so I had a look under the car. The crank sensor's still in the right position, although the tip was covered with plastic filings so the trigger wheel is still making contact, that might've been the noise I heard at high revs. There's no milkshake in the oil and no oil in the coolant that I can see. No noticeable loss of either. I ran it up to full operating temperature and didn't get any smoke, but the engine still feels uneven and sounds rather Subaru-ish. Sync loss was still there but not nearly as bad as the last time I drove it, getting worse as the engine warmed up.

So obviously a compression test is in order. I'll get the car to the shop by the weekend.

Also did this to the GoPro remote to reduce the chance of any future button confusion:

Honestly I don't even remember looking at the remote at the track day, just pressing buttons by feel. I'd like to find a way to have a different texture on the 2 buttons. At least I can feel the tape.

GameboyRMH MegaDork
11/30/16 6:35 p.m.

Here's the data for my fastest lap in session 2:

GameboyRMH MegaDork
12/6/16 8:36 a.m.

Got confirmation the compression is hilariously uneven. I don't have money for any non-essential machine work right now, so the head will be checked and milled if necessary, and then a regular factory head gasket will be slapped on.

While the car's in the shop I want to get the trigger wheel moved to the back of the pulley as originally intended to eliminate the sync loss problems.

petegossett UltimaDork
12/6/16 12:06 p.m.

In reply to GameboyRMH:


GameboyRMH MegaDork
12/9/16 9:06 a.m.

Well a new gasket's on and the engine's running at least as well as it did before all this. I'll try to sign up for another track day this Sunday. Gonna leave the sensor work to next week. May need to drive this car on the street after a little incident with the Samurai today...hopefully not for long, sitting in traffic in the sun is barely survivable without AC.

GameboyRMH MegaDork
12/9/16 9:21 p.m.

Signed up for Sunday. To eliminate any potential pinging, I have two ideas on top of the now slightly decreased compression:

  1. Insulation for the IAT sensor where it sticks out of the intake piping. This is right in the path of the heat plume from the radiator stack and could be getting heated from the outside which would cause the engine to run leaner than it should.

  2. Connecting a computer to the MS3X and having a look at the fuel table. Maybe the questionable area could use some richening up.

GameboyRMH MegaDork
12/10/16 12:07 p.m.



Think I'll take the laptop to the track tomorrow in case I find any more undesirable engine behavior.

GameboyRMH MegaDork
12/11/16 10:16 p.m.

No major damage at the track today but plenty of smaller problems.

The biggest is when the engine got frighteningly hot. Just a few laps into the first session, I noticed the gauge was suddenly 3/4 way up. Full operating temperature is exactly 1/2 way up. After this, I changed the fuel map again:

On the second session, the engine temps now seemed to be under control, but towards the end I heard a worrying scraping noise. I checked over the car, couldn't find anything wrong, and went back out on the next session, when it suddenly got worse and turned into more of a rattling noise. Some guys in the pit thought it sounded like an exhaust rattle, so I went back out and then the source made itself clear as a massive exhaust leak opened up. Turned out a mount had torn itself off and taken a piece of the pipe with it, and coincidentally a pinhole leak opened on its own elsewhere. Stopped on the way home and got it welded up:

Between all the problems and being held up by other cars, the only clean lap I did was just before I noticed that the engine was way too hot:

Plenty of room for improvement in terms of choosing lines.

Some other cars that were at the track day:

GameboyRMH MegaDork
12/14/16 6:14 p.m.

Well it looks like I've damaged something in the engine again. Yesterday the car dumped a James Bond smokescreen on the highway at high revs and high load. Since then it's been smoking at least lightly at high revs, especially on overrun. It doesn't look like coolant smoke, it could be oil or excess fuel or some of both. I've tried the original fuel map again and it doesn't stop the smoking. The engine sounds noticeably lumpier too but there's no decrease in performance or other negative effects noticeable yet. No oil or coolant mixed but it looks like the oil level has gone down. Time for another compression test...

GameboyRMH MegaDork
12/15/16 7:18 a.m.

Pretty sure it's the piston rings now, this morning the engine not only sounded like a Subaru but felt rough and has been smoking like crazy. Gonna take it off the road this evening.

GameboyRMH MegaDork
12/22/16 8:39 a.m.

Ran across this pic, these are some of the Ksport coilovers available for the car which is a rebrand of the same D2s I'm running. Looks like they later went to a ring locking mechanism for the sway bar tabs instead of a split mount/clamp bolt mechanism:

Mine have stayed in place for one and a half track days so far, so hopefully it won't slip again until I can get the brackets made to connect the sway bars to the uprights instead of the shocks.

Later I'll post up some of the tuning changes I've made while the car's been down.

GameboyRMH MegaDork
12/29/16 3:38 p.m.

Now for some of the tuning changes I've made. I'm pretty sure this, combined with a cranking RPM setting of 300rpm, is what was making the engine almost impossible to start when hot:

I set the cranking rpm to 600 and changed the table as seen below, along with slight higher-temp reductions to the cranking pulse, priming pulse and ASE taper, and it hasn't given trouble to start since:

Here's the spark map the engine was running until I took it off the road. That's a scary amount of advance at high revs and low load:

Here's one I've made based on a base map for a 4AGE bigport posted by oldeskewltoy on another forum:

It looks "more red" but that's just because it has a much lower maximum advance. There's actually not a whole lot of advance over the previous map and it's still pretty conservative. I'll get to see how it performs when the engine is fixed. That work should start on Monday.

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