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captainawesome
captainawesome Reader
5/10/19 3:21 p.m.

It was groundhog day yesterday.

Roll the car into the garage, pop the hood, start the pedestal fan, and put it up on blocks. Slide back under the car the remove the splash shield, unbolt header/overpipe and drop it all out. Rinse and repeat.

I wanted to buy some of the Remflex gaskets to fix my header leak(s), but don't want to wait a couple days to get them in. I have time now to fix it, but in a couple days that's just not possible. I don't want to wait until next week either. For now, and possibly as long as it seals, I put a thin layer of copper RTV sealant on flange surfaces and sammiched the Grimmspeed gaskets betwix it. The recommended cure time is 24 hours, so of course I waited 12 because nobody tells me what to do.

This morning when I rolled out of the garage it was whisper quiet, and from what I can tell the exhaust leak(s) are gone. I even popped the hood in disbelief to make sure it just wasn't a quiet leak. It's pretty neat.

After two days with the factory catback bolted in place, I can honestly say it was the right choice. The surge of sound from the header is loud enough for me, and I no longer broadcast my arrival to all the fine law enforcement in the area.

Unfortunately when I put the car back on the blocks I noticed my tire wear was getting a bit thin on the innards. I'm pretty sure I noticed this at the time of purchase, but just ignored it. Obviously the logical thing to do at this point is buy a new pair of shoes and show them off to all my friends. I price shopped for weeks preparing for this moment and settled on the Azenis rt615k+. What's on the car is the older rt615k which from what I understand is the lesser tire. I'm not displeased with the current tire, but it's not exactly grip heavy. The + is supposed to be slightly under the pointy end of the 200tw field, but still have some longer life for track days. The 18" wheel size is killing me on price, but I just don't care enough to change. Anyway, TireRack says they will be here monday. I have autocross this Sunday with the Z club, so I'll find out the 18th or 19th with the Vette club how well they do. I'm not expecting a7 grip, but something better than what I got now would be sufficient.

Untitled by hatchethairy, on Flickr

Professor_Brap
Professor_Brap Dork
5/10/19 3:50 p.m.

In reply to captainawesome :

I like the 615k+, its not quite the pointy end, but they are a tougher tire. 

captainawesome
captainawesome Reader
5/10/19 4:03 p.m.

In reply to Professor_Brap :

Yeah they seem to be in a sweet spot. Re71 was what I originally wanted, but they are ~$60 more per tire with probably half the tread life as the 615k+. The Direzza III would be next in line, but again they cost ~$60 more per tire. The RS4 seem to be a good tire as well, but again cost benefit analysis still puts the 615k+ in the win category. One of these days I'll pick up a set of 17" wheels for some track treads, or not.

captainawesome
captainawesome Reader
5/13/19 10:36 a.m.

I've ran through my first tank of e85, and so far have managed ~17 MPG. I can live with that considering it costs about a dollar less per gallon than 91. I'm sure there is some math that could be done with a cost/benefit analysis, but haven't put effort into that yet.

Sunday was my first autocross with the new exhaust/header/OFT e85 tune, and it went well. I managed 3rd in Race class, and I think with some new fresh tires I'll have much better results. New rubber will be here today and installed tomorrow. I spent most of the rest of the weekend making all the Mom's happy, and slurping on some Pseudo Sue on the back deck.

Untitled by hatchethairy, on Flickr

Untitled by hatchethairy, on Flickr

captainawesome
captainawesome Reader
5/13/19 12:59 p.m.

Tires showed up today. Tomorrow they shall be installed. I don't know about yoos guys/gals, but my UPS guy thinks I've got a tire addiction. He's not wrong, this is my 5th set in the past 6 months.

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captainawesome
captainawesome Reader
5/15/19 3:12 p.m.

Tires were installed yesterday morning, but I figured I'd put some miles on them before posting up again. The grip now compared to the old heat cycled tires is downright comical. I don't know what scale to put the old tires on, but they weren't great. I thought maybe I was just overdriving them or the chassis setup wasn't as well sorted like I had hoped. None of that is true. The tires sucked and now the chassis is working with the new grip level to make a sweet little corner carver. Sunday's autocross should really show how much improvement has been made.

Filled up the tank again with more e85. A solid 17mpg with me giving it the beans more often than not.

On to the plasti-dip. I didn't end up having lacquer thinner in the old chemical cabinet, so I picked some up last week. With some downtime available for a few minutes last night I spent a sec or two quickly wiping off the overspray. Thanks to Dusterbd13's suggestion is was far less painful than anticipated.

Before:

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Afterish:

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Almost forgot I found this ridiculous shifter knob in the back of the passengers seat pocket. I thought it was a vape thingy at first. Either way, it's going to be put up for sale to cover costs of a new knob.

Untitled by hatchethairy, on Flickr

Untitled by hatchethairy, on Flickr

Untitled by hatchethairy, on Flickr

clutchsmoke
clutchsmoke SuperDork
5/15/19 9:51 p.m.

That shift knob looks like a butt plug. 

AxeHealey
AxeHealey Reader
5/16/19 7:28 a.m.

I really dig the car, man.

captainawesome
captainawesome Reader
5/16/19 7:31 a.m.

In reply to clutchsmoke :

You're not wrong!

 

In reply to AxeHealey :

Thanks! No regrets so far getting rid of the e21 or the e30. I should have just done this years ago.

AxeHealey
AxeHealey Reader
5/16/19 8:14 a.m.

 

In reply to AxeHealey :

Thanks! No regrets so far getting rid of the e21 or the e30. I should have just done this years ago.

Good! 

captainawesome
captainawesome Reader
5/20/19 3:54 p.m.

New tires made a huge difference. So much so I'm relearning how to drive it properly as I'm pretty sure there were a couple seconds left on the table. I have another autocross this Sunday so hopefully some more seat time will help develop some better times.

I officially scheduled my first HPDE at Hallett June 22nd. There's a couple guys I autocross with that haven't been before either, so we are all showing up clueless and inexperienced in solidarity. To get the car prepped I'm going to do a full fluids maintenance, especially brakes. The yellow stuff pads should be fine for track days from what I can tell, so nothing needed there. For sure engine oil and probably diff just to make sure. I may raise the car up about a 1/2" but need to find an alignment shop with the proper equipment to get everything back to spec afterward.

captainawesome
captainawesome Reader
5/24/19 8:58 a.m.

Time to start checking stuff off the Hallett tech list. I've had a little corrosion at the battery terminals that needed some love, so that was first on the list. After removing the battery I cleaned all the terminals up with a wire wheel and various picks before slathering in corrosion resistant gel. The negative terminal and the bracket were the worst, but not really that terrible. After cleaning the bracket, I scuffed the surface with a scotch brite pad, and then a couple coats of Duplicolor black wheel paint.

Looks like Flickr is still down for maintenance, so I'm attempting to upload directly to the forum. Hopefully the pics aren't insanely large.

Steve
Steve New Reader
5/24/19 3:23 p.m.

I think my family would say I've been having a mid life crisis since I was 14, I'm now 62. All my "crisis" vehicles have been projects.

I think you have done it the right way, buy a very clean, fun car and just enjoy it.

 

captainawesome
captainawesome Reader
5/24/19 6:24 p.m.

In reply to Steve :

It's been awesome so far, but a bit weird working on a car someone else did the work on. It's not that big of a deal, but you always wonder how capable the guy before you really was. I can honestly say with about 1500 miles on the clock that I'm still happy the car is in my life. No regrets. The time I'm not tinkering is filled with track or autocross time. That is neat.

84FSP
84FSP SuperDork
5/26/19 2:41 p.m.

Looking good what is this supposed to be making with the upgrades and E85?

captainawesome
captainawesome Reader
5/28/19 7:35 a.m.

In reply to 84FSP :

About 200 to the wheels depending on the blend of e85.

captainawesome
captainawesome Reader
5/28/19 8:13 a.m.

Friday I got off work a few hours early, so I decided to get the oil changed. The Purolator filter looks way different than the Mobil 1. I couldn't tell you which one is better from a science perspective, but the Purolator Boss looks to have better flow? People more intelligent than myself recommended 5w30 for track/summer use, so that's what I switched to. I went with Mobil 1 Extended Performance synthetic with the gold cap since the e46 seemed happy with it and it's a well priced fluid.

Untitled by hatchethairy, on Flickr

A while back I noticed the rear sway bar link on the passenger side was loose. I tightened it back up when getting the exhaust sorted, but lately the clunking has come back. Looks like the nut is stripped out along with part of the threads. They were a set of Whiteline adjustables so I figured they may be suited for some repair. By chance that evening, someone posted a set of slightly used rear links for a good price on Facebook, so once those are in I'll get that sorted as well as bleed the new Redline RL-600 fluid in prep for Hallett.

Out of curiosity I weighed one of the wheel/tires to compare to posted 17" weights I've seen. Not as terrible as expected, but could be improved at ~43 lbs.

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Sunday was the OMR SCCA autocross, and right before the first heat was about to begin, heavy rain rolled in. Luckily my work assignment was backup timing/scoring in the trailer, so I got to stay dry. That also meant by the time lunch was over, the rain was gone. I purposely put myself in grid as far back as possible so the other cars can start to dry up the course for me. I ended up 8th over all against some damn good drivers and so far is my best overall finish with the SCCA. There's still plenty of driver improvement needed, but me and the car are really getting to know each other. My next autocross is a double header on the 15/16th with the HPDE at Hallett on the 22nd.

Right before the rain rolled in:

Untitled by hatchethairy, on Flickr

Untitled by hatchethairy, on Flickr

Untitled by hatchethairy, on Flickr

Untitled by hatchethairy, on Flickr

captainawesome
captainawesome Reader
6/10/19 7:58 a.m.

The gently used adjustable end links hit my doorstep right before I boarded a plane for Savannah. Luckily I had enough time to pull the rear sway bar out and get the new ones installed before leaving. I had to drop the rear exhaust from the hangers to snake it all out and back in, but nothing too difficult. I only pulled the whole bar since the nut on the old one would just spin, and I figured if it had to be cut off I'd avoid shooting sparks at the gas tank.

Old links and bar.

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Old vs new.

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It didn't fix the clunk I'm hearing in the rear on sharp bumps, but at least I know it's not loose. I need to figure out what's making all the racket back there though as it's getting annoying.

Yesterday I was able to get out to the local 4 State Vettes autocross and took 5th overall if my info is correct. I feel pretty good about that considering the cars that edged me out were either on slicks/gutted or much more powerful and capable cars. It was a super fun and fast course with speeds higher than we usually see which was a treat. The weather was overcast and cool enough to not melt me.

All in all I'm pretty happy with the car, and since I'm an amateur I don't know what else there is to tweak or develop on the car. I could raise the car up an inch, throw some stickier/wider 17's under it, and probably do better. I think that's a goal for next year when my wallet has some breathing room. I've also been looking at a lightweight flywheel, but don't really feel like pulling the trans right now. Maybe a winter project? This week I plan to bleed the brakes with some Motul 600 stuff since the previously ordered Redline didn't ever show up, and poke around the rear to find the infamous clunking. Gotta make sure it's ready for Hallett on the 22nd.

Untitled by hatchethairy, on Flickr

captainawesome
captainawesome Reader
6/17/19 10:07 a.m.

Got to spend the early part of Fathers Day at the local Z Club autocross. It rained pretty good the night before, so half the course had water in all the wrong places. The course was far from being my favorite as there were THREE 180 loop turn spots. We did get to do 8 runs which was nice, but on my 6th run I decided to play a little with the e-brake to see what kinda drifty stuff could help time. Coming back out of the first loop spot I started sliding and tried to power out/drift since I had already DNF'd at the loop. It started getting out of hand so I let the wheel go and slowed it down in a violent fashion. When the car came to a stop there was a loud whoosh like I had installed a wastegate whilst spinning. At first I thought maybe I debeaded a tire since it leaned so hard onto the front driver side, but neigh. Each startup attempt was fruitless as it would sputter and hiss. I popped the hood and didn't see anything out of place, so a few course workers pushed me back into grid. A fellow FRS driver came over and suggested I check a vacuum hose on the back of the intake. Sure enough it didn't have a clamp on it for some reason, so a temporary zip tie is now keeping it snug.

I finally got around to mounting the iPhone so it's all in the video below:

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And a fellow enthusiast thought it was a good opportunity to film the crew pushing me back in:

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Vaccum line hooked back up, but shows the lack of clamp? Don't know if the factory just doesn't put one there, or the previous owner lost it.

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Zip tie in action.

Untitled by hatchethairy, on Flickr

Overall I had a good day. My 5th run was the best, but not good enough to win my class, just second place. Wah wa wahhhh....

The previously mentioned fellow FRS owner rode with me to lunch. He seemed pretty bothered by the clunks in the rear. I've mentioned it before, but it's annoying. Every tiny bump it makes clunks. I thought the sway bar link was the culprit, but nope. When we got back to the lot before checking in for work assignments, he took a look around the rear suspension from underneath. We popped the trunk so I could show him the RaceEng 2" extended rear shock mounts that I figured was the source of the noise. So we pushed on the rear bumper to see if we could see any play, and sure enough the bearing on the driver side moved a considerable amount within the shock mount. The passenger side didn't budge at all. They aren't supposed to move like that. He said he had some other aftermarket ones if I wanted, but I knew there were the stock mounts sitting back in the garage that the previous owner gave me.

I've read up a bit on the RaceEng mounts before, with quite a few others having the exact same issues. I think the bearings aren't up to the proper spec to run in this type of environment. After digging out the stock mounts and scrounging up some hardware, they are now swapped out and the clunks are gone. Woohooo! The amount of spring preload needed to set ride height with the extended shock mounts was insane. The helper springs were completely compressed rendering them useless. With the stock mounts the preload is acceptable. Since I have a track day this Saturday at Hallett I decided to keep the ride height it was originally set at since I won't have time to get a proper alignment.

No pics of the RaceEng mounts, but just imagine a sloppy bearing. So glad I had the PO thrown in any spares he had from changing out parts.

Untitled by hatchethairy, on Flickr

 

captainawesome
captainawesome Reader
6/17/19 1:15 p.m.

Here's the full course fastest run:

Untitled by hatchethairy, on Flickr

captainawesome
captainawesome Reader
6/18/19 9:10 a.m.

Spent a little time bleeding brakes for some fresh fluid. The oldest kiddo did pedal work while I cracked the bleeder. The setup I have can be done without assistance, but it goes so much quicker with a dedicated pedal dancer. I need to get a larger bleed bottle so I don't have to drain it so often, but it will be forgotten long before the next bleed sesh.

I think my checklist for Hallett is complete for the most part. I'm going to pick up a couple fuel containers to bring spare e85 to the track, but other than that I should be good to go.

Untitled by hatchethairy, on Flickr

She does have eyeballs, the flash just hides them well. Photography is tricky.

Untitled by hatchethairy, on Flickr

 

jfryjfry
jfryjfry Dork
6/18/19 11:41 a.m.

That’s a good dad right there.  My oldest is just behind her I’d guess and I love just having her in the shop but especially when she wants to help

captainawesome
captainawesome Reader
6/18/19 12:22 p.m.

In reply to jfryjfry :

I hope there's a few more of these days we get to have together. She just turned 10, so it won't be long before other interests begin to take precedent. The other day she expressed interest in riding along at an autocross, and I think that's something one of the clubs will be able to help me arrange.

captainawesome
captainawesome Reader
6/24/19 9:26 a.m.

My first track day is now in the books.

It was glorious.

The first session one of the instructors drove my car to show me the lines. After that session I felt grossly unprepared to go out on my own. Luckily another instructor that owns an FRS hopped in the passenger seat on my second outing. We navigated the course as I tried to remember lines and he would point out some places that needed better placement. I can totally do this. He seemed pleased with how the car was handling and so we chatted about the work done on the car. I think he's got a few items planned now for his car.

On the third session I was on my own. Oddly enough I felt more comfortable without an instructor to push some speed and braking zones. Lap after lap I was beginning to be held up by traffic, but it felt great. The car was doing well, and I could tell when I was making progress from corner to corner. I'm hooked.

The fourth session I decided to use the Harry's Laptimer app to see some data. I was able to get some point bys out of the way before my 3rd lap where I had a wide open track for a bit. We were running the track clockwise, which I guess is considered backwards. My best time out was a 1:37.45 with a few 1:38-40's due to traffic. I had to point by a SS 1LE, but that's it and it was clearly hauling the mail in the straights where I just didn't have the power to play.

My 5th session the first instructor that drove my car hopped in to make sure I'm doing all of the things right. Again I was hesitant to push the car as hard. I think because I was focusing on his input I didn't give it the beans like I had before. My lap timer bugged out for about 5 of the laps, and we had a ton of traffic again for the laps that actually recorded. A bunch of 1:40-41's were all I could muster.

So after all of this, I can't wait to go back. A buddy with a SS 1LE joined me for the day, and we both agreed it's gonna happen again soon. We may even try to hit up Heartland in Topeka?

The instructor with the FRS mentioned a brake cooling upgrade from a Porsche I think? He said it bolts to the control arm and air was ducted from by the rad if I remember correctly. With his setup he hasn't experienced any brake fade, so it may be something to look into.

Next time I'm going to set up a stable phone mount to get some video with the laptimer data. If I'm reading the data correctly I was pulling 1.4g's? Does that sound right?

Untitled by hatchethairy, on Flickr

Untitled by hatchethairy, on Flickr

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Untitled by hatchethairy, on Flickr

Untitled by hatchethairy, on Flickr

 

captainawesome
captainawesome Reader
6/24/19 10:44 a.m.

Here's a map overlay with some numbers. Top speed I think was just at 90, but I think there's only room for another MPH or two.

Untitled by hatchethairy, on Flickr

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