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tuna55 UltimaDork
3/2/15 7:25 a.m.

That looks delightful.

Cooper_Tired Reader
3/2/15 7:31 a.m.

Damn that looks fun

Bubs Reader
3/12/15 6:04 p.m.

Everything's starting to come together! I am crunching for time a little bit now, as I was originally planning my first Stage Rally to be NEFR in July, but now my region's SCCA is spearheading the new SCCA RallySprint program! Short, extremely affordable Stage Rally, but the car still needs to be logbooked and fully prepared so I now need to have it ready by May 9th!

Finishing sourcing my suspension components, going to run KYB AGX struts with brand new OEM springs and mounting hardware for this year, with my old KYB GR-2s becoming emergency spares. Starting to pile up on spare parts, which is great! Also upgrading the front brakes to NX2000 brakes after being so impressed with those on my new '93 SE-R. Harnesses just arrived, and some used Cobra Imola II FIA seats are on their way!

Bubs Reader
3/17/15 10:54 a.m.

Looked like I picked a good time to stop by the house today! A UPS driver had just dropped off a very large but surprisingly lightweight box containing my new seats!

My MOMO side-mounts fit them perfectly and I also opened up my two sets of SFI 16.1 GForce harnesses. These are the two-year SFI harnesses but they'll get the job done for my first Stage Rally events this year.

They're sitting really low of course, since they literally just arrived and I have not installed the seat-mounts yet. But I couldn't resist a test-fit! They fit me and they fit the car perfectly.

golfduke Reader
3/17/15 1:59 p.m.

oooh, NH plates huh? Where abouts?

Bubs Reader
3/17/15 4:58 p.m.
golfduke wrote: oooh, NH plates huh? Where abouts?

Lakes Region. Been a local to this area my entire life, wouldn't have it any other way!

Bubs Reader
3/18/15 11:50 a.m.

Have some spare time today so I went to the hardware store to get some much-needed nuts and bolts. Attached both Cobra seats to the MOMO FIA side-mount brackets for test-fitting. Also getting to work on installing the harnesses. I was perplexed with a solution to mounting the shoulder-belts due to angle requirements until a fellow racer reminded me that they can be looped around the cage using a piece provided in the harness kit. I need to change the way it loops through there, but I just wanted to get them in and fitted up today.

I also have both sub-belts bolted in. Unfortunately, the OEM seat mounting points interfere with the FIA seat brackets being able to sit flat against the floor, so I'll have to cut those out. Shame because they would have made perfect mounting points for the lap-belts! I'll have to figure out a solution for those as well.

Another thing on the to-do list is to decide whether to simply weld the seat-mounts in, or weld in plates with threaded bolt-holes so I can unbolt the brackets from the floor and adjust the seats back-forth if needed.

golfduke Reader
3/18/15 2:34 p.m.

sweet, if you ever need a hand turning wrenches, I'm chomping at the bit to do something... Lost the garage in the divorce haha. I'm in Manchester, so not too terribly far.

cmcgregor Reader
3/18/15 3:38 p.m.

Hey, I'm not too far either!

In fact, I saw your car once parked at the go-karts by fun spot.

Bubs Reader
3/22/15 3:20 p.m.

golfduke - Thanks, I'll absolutely keep that in mind!

cmcgregor - I used to live right by Funspot. Wasn't a bad place to be if you didn't mind the constant noise from the street, especially during Bike Week!

Today was a little less productive than expected, in thanks to an incorrect shipment from RockAuto. I need to replace my broken passenger-side manual window regulator, but I was sent a completely different part, a driver-side regulator for a B12 Sentra. Needless to say, it doesn't fit!

I did get my homemade mudflaps installed. Thanks Home Depot! I've seen this material take abuse even better than purpose-made mudflaps so I'm happy with them.

The final pieces of my new suspension should be in tomorrow, the upper spring-seats and the "spring insulator" pads so I can finally put my KYB AGXs together. I'm hoping to have the suspension together and installed later this week. Otherwise I just need to install a new flex-pipe and the car can go back on the ground. I have NX2000 front brake calipers and pads ready to install once I source some rotors, so I can either install those before I drop the car or after I get it back on the road.

I've also contacted a fellow racer who is willing to help me with my seat-mounting solution. We're planning a typical setup with bars running across from the center-tunnel to the door sills and support bars which to bolt on the FIA seat mounts. This design should allow for me to keep the OEM seat mounting holes that I can bolt the lap-belts for the 5-point harness.

Bubs Reader
3/30/15 5:06 p.m.

Suspension is installed and brakes are put back together! I have a front brake upgrade planned but that can wait until the car's back on the road. All I need to do is continue trying to source some new lower mounting bolts for the rear struts (the originals broke on removal), once I have those I anticipate driving Raven out of the garage this week. Only have a month to go, but not much left to do in time for the first-ever SCCA RallySprint!

Bubs Reader
4/1/15 2:55 p.m.

Raven drove out of the garage today! I didn't drive it anywhere yet but the suspension all seems to be good and tight as I would expect entirely new suspension to be.

It started up immediately after sitting for several months, but I did notice that it sounded like it was down one cylinder. I checked plugs, checked wires. Started the car back up, unplugged one fuel injector at a time until I determined that Cylinder #4's injector wasn't functioning. Pulled the fuel-rail and it was obviously dry in comparison to the others. Was debating pulling my other B13's injector rail today, but figured that's a bad idea less than an hour before going on a date! I have an extra fuel-rail at my office so I'll grab that tomorrow and will have it sorted in short order.

Not that big of a deal yet anyway since my passenger-side window is out. Been working on replacing the window regulator that's been broken since 2012, ordered one but RockAuto sent me a driver-side regulator for a B12 Sentra! Hopefully the correct one is already on its way.

I have a little over a month (May 9th) to: - Repair fuel injector issue, install window regulator

  • Weld in brackets for mounting FIA seats, bolt in the 5-point harness' lap-belts

  • State Inspection, Rally America Logbook Inspection

  • Buy a few odds-and-ends required for Stage Rally / RallySprint (emergency kit, etc)

  • Buy a racing suit and buy / arrange to borrow a HANS device for the May 9th RallySprint

Seems doable! I also have a fairly local RallyCross that will be a great place to shakedown the car on April 25th. So far, so good! I had much less time than expected to get ready (I was expecting my first event to be in July until this RallySprint popped up and I can't miss that!), but am making the best of the situation for sure.

Bubs Reader
4/12/15 11:28 a.m.

Making progress! Started to feel like it's impossible to get the car ready and logbooked in time for the RallySprint, but thanks to some local racing friends it feels like it's going to happen. They're experienced Rallyists and also have experience with something that's currently way out of my league - welding and fabricating. I'm good with mechanical work but never had a chance to get any welding experience in the past.

I got the car on the road, state-inspected and then headed over to their workshop to get started on seat brackets. We're doing the same thing originally planned - angle-iron brackets from center-tunnel to door sills with mounting holes to attach the FIA side-mounts. Got the first one done yesterday, the current plan is to do the other one this coming Sunday and hopefully do the remaining minor rust repair as well. I need to get these seats installed, get the five-point harnesses mounted to RA specs, disable the steering lock and I anticipate being able to bring the car to Claremont for the big logbook inspection by the end of the month.

Bubs Reader
4/29/15 4:31 p.m.

Raven's running and had a pretty successful shakedown, but due to a few issues I've dropped out of the RallySprint and will be planning another event later this year for my first Stage Rally. This is for two reasons: The Logbook Inspector had approved the cage builder's design but has since changed his mind, requiring more gussets on the front sections of the cage, which I don't have time for alongside the other prep. The second reason is because I have been developing Lyme Disease and am currently in the worst part of it. I should be clear of symptoms in another fifteen days, but in the meantime it's a miracle that I can even still go to work. Every joint from the neck down is on fire, 24/7. Must have gotten a tick when I was in Florida last week of December as I didn't get any symptoms until early February. Started as a wrist problem that I thought was the beginning of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, that went away and quickly became every other part of my body.

Nonetheless, the car has been coming together well otherwise! Thanks to one of my fellow rallyists, the seats are legitimately mounted along with the harnesses!

By this time I had already started medication for Lyme Disease and knew I wasn't making the RallySprint, but I got a deal I couldn't refuse on two brand-new DMack gravel tires. Great for a RallyCross shakedown and I'll need them in the future anyway! I now have six gravels, the two DMacks and four Silverstone S505s.

At this point, it was time for a RallyCross - a shakedown for the car and also for myself.

I knew from the moment I woke up that it probably wasn't the best idea to go, but I went anyway. I have a really strong connection with the folks at NER RallyCross and I really wanted to be there to at least help out. With the medication making symptoms even worse for the time being (this is normal - some say they're not sure if they hate the Lyme or the medication more!), I couldn't even lift my gravel tires onto the hubs to swap tires - really depressing to feel so limited by my own body! Two fellow racers saw me struggling and proceeded to change my tires for me. My entire NER community is full of genuinely great people and I can't thank them all enough.

At the beginning of the first run, I went to start left-foot braking and noticed that I was having brake booster problems, the pedal going completely stiff anytime I'm on the throttle. Not having the leg-strength to fight it out right now, I struggled through the first run. The remaining runs I decided to snap off the throttle to get a little braking power and was able to put in times on par with the rest of the highly-competitive Modified FWD field - but the pain got to be too much. Some rougher hits felt like a baseball bat hitting the base of my spine, and I started to get dizzy so I parked the car and laid down in the grass behind it. I dropped out of competition for the day, the organizers even said I didn't have to do my Course Work assignment but I did it anyway - no reason I can't stand on course with a two-way radio! At the end of the day, two more racers helped me swap my tires back again. I thanked them profusely, to which they said "You would do it for anyone, it's the least we can do." I love the racing community.

I don't have the strength right now to do any more wrenching so all projects are on the back-burner until I get better. Hopefully only fifteen more days to go! Once I'm past that, I'll be back to getting my car ready for Logbooking and deciding what Stage Rally I'm going to attempt this year.

cmcgregor Reader
4/29/15 4:35 p.m.

Dude. Lyme disease sounds like it sucks.

Nice work on the car though, it's looking great. Hopefully someday I'll get my rallycross project e30 together and see you out there.

Bubs Reader
4/29/15 8:49 p.m.

Lyme Disease does suck! I can consider myself lucky that I didn't have any of the other symptoms aside from chronic sore joints, usually it's that alongside persistent fatigue and other Mono-esque problems. For anybody reading that's in an area with deer ticks - even if you don't see any tick or bite area, if you experience a stiff neck for more than a few days or any strange joint pain that seems to "migrate" around the body, get checked out immediately. I had no idea despite always checking myself for ticks, never had a "bulls-eye rash" or anything, perhaps it got in my hair and I didn't find it.

Blood test confirmed it was Lyme and got on antibiotics immediately. Projects held back for the time being, but certainly could be worse! I was kind of relived when I found out it was Lyme to be honest, because at least it has a clear-cut remedy. Otherwise it could have been cancer or some bizarre age-24 arthritis that can't be cured. I'll be back at it!

Bubs Reader
10/3/15 11:29 a.m.

It was a long but great summer! A lot of projects were put off due to the ongoing health concerns but I have been doing my best to press on regardless. Just recently I found out that I didn't just have Lyme Disease - turns out that I also developed Ankulosing Spondylitis (AS) simultaneously which is exactly why none of the Lyme treatments seemed to be working. Now that I am on correct treatments for the condition I currently have, I am hopeful that I will be able to fully recover.

In the meantime, I bought a house! With my Stage Rally ambitions and other hobby-projects put on the back-burner due to my difficulties, I needed something I could actively work on, and that meant getting back into the prospect of buying my own property. This house is exactly what I wanted - 540 sq/ft, super efficient and low-maintenance, nice neighborhood, spacious yard and workshed. The only compromise I made is that it doesn't have a garage, but I plan to build a carport next year that will serve that function. Some local racing friends do more Stage Rally than I ever expect to do, and they do so without a garage so I can make this work! I've also installed one of the Mitsubishi Ductless Heat Pump / Cooling systems in the house which makes it 100% perfect for the foreseeable future.

As for the B13s, the '93 SE-R is still proving to be a perfect daily-driver while also doing some Autocross duty during the summer, was intending to Hillclimb it as well but am waiting until I'm better to do anything more serious. Has only 101,500 miles on it so far! Looking forward to one more full winter to do some more Ice Racing with it, will be applying FluidFilm religiously before and during the season. My intention is to keep it indefinitely, but to either start running a Winter Beater again next winter or another solution to keep from rusting this one away.

My original B13, the now Almost Stage Rally car, is finally nearing the point of being Logbooked. After a long summer of zero communication from anyone at Rally America, I decided to go with NASA Rallysport for Logbooking instead. Everyone at NASA has been much more communicative. I had the car looked over at the latest RallySprint by one of the inspectors, and determined the car just needs a couple of extra gussets. I am bringing the car down to the original cage builder later this month to get those, and then hopefully meeting up with a NASA Logbook Inspector on my way back home. If I can get the car logbooked before winter, I'll be happy. That way when I'm 100% better next year, I can get back to my original plan of starting with RallySprints and then hopefully doing a full Stage Rally event later in 2016.

I've been getting back to other forgotten projects too! Like finishing my CT70 "CT140 Supermoto" project, which is just about near completion. All I need to do now is wire up the lights and horn and it will be good to get back on the road.

One of the other important things of dealing with AS is to stay active as, when the symptoms are at their worst, pain actually diminishes with physical activity. Between that and moving to a semi-urban area where bicycle riding makes a lot of sense, it was a perfect excuse to finally pick up a Krate. Growing up I always had different banana-seat bikes, but I never had a real Schwinn Stingray so this genuine classic 5-speed Orange Krate was a perfect buy. I've been riding this thing to and from work quite often along with using it for around-town errands and short trips. Absolutely perfect way to stay in the best shape I can until I get better!

I will update again once I make any further inroads on getting the Rally Car logbooked!

ValuePack SuperDork
10/3/15 1:16 p.m.

Wait wait wait... did you get a Speed Triple, too? If you can't stop acquiring pure awesomeness, you'll find me claiming squatter's rights in your backyard.

Congrats on the new pad!

Bubs Reader
10/13/15 2:10 p.m.

Thanks! I've had the Speed Triple for a few years now, put about 13k miles on it since I bought it in 2013. My favorite trip has been my week-trip to Nova Scotia back in 2013!

Meanwhile, Raven waits until later this month for a trip to RI to get the remaining rollcage additions so I can hopefully get Logbooked before winter! Just needs a couple of extra gussets and a few minor things before I can get a NASA Rallysport logbook.

Bubs Reader
10/25/15 3:41 p.m.

After spending months trying to work with Rally America to Logbook the car with them to no avail, it was nice to see that the people of NASA RallySport are extremely friendly and communicative. To make the cage conform to the slight differences between the RA and NASA rulebooks, a few changes had to be made to the cage. The addition of an "X" in the rear section along with a couple of extra gussets, plus a thicker metal to seal the sunroof. I drove down to Rhode Island yesterday and the builder of the original cage made the necessary additions.

While he was working on that, I set about modifying the lightbar I bought from a fellow SE-R racer / enthusiast (same man I bought the '93 street car from!) - he used it on a "super lightweight" RallyCross SE-R and therefore his original mounting solution involved removing the actual front bumper and notching out the bumper cover. Not wanting to do that for a car that will see Stage / Hillclimb use, I elected to notch out the metal trim under the grille, drilled two holes and welded nuts on top. Cut the excess off the mounting bars and the lightbar itself, drilled some new mounting holes and put it all together. There's reasons I'm not an engineer, but it didn't come out half-bad considering my hamfisted approach to basically everything! Gave me something to do while David did the real work on the rollcage.

With the necessary modifications complete, we doublechecked the angles of the harnesses, gave everything a double-check and it was time to head North back into Massachusetts for the big Logbook Inspection. I was nervous about the big moment, but confident that the car would pass. I'm still physically recovering from developing two chronic diseases nearly simultaneously, but I really wanted to clear this major hurdle in the neverending project that is Rally Car Ownership before winter sets in.

The NASA Logbook Inspector I visited is of course a fellow racer, and was able to give the car a thorough inspection while also giving me lots of helpful advice about important Tech Inspection details and other Rally-specific tech tips and information. I was pretty sure the car would pass, but worst case scenario the cage builder welcomed me to come straight back if there were any changes required.

When all was said and done, I officially owned a NASA Logbooked Rally Car! With all of my racing ambitions and other projects being delayed due to the aforementioned physical health issues, it was amazing to finally reach this point. The SE-R I rescued from certain scrapping, rebuilt in my work's office parking lot, then daily-drove and weekend-raced for a few years is finally a true Stage Rally Car!

At this point I'm finally starting to overcome the physical constraints of my diseases and beginning to recover, so my hope is to finish recovery over the winter, and in Spring 2016 get to the Rallying I've been dreaming of since my early teens. I can't wait! I am also extremely excited for the Ice Racing / Ice Trials / RallyCross that this winter will bring. I'll update again soon!

NGTD UltraDork
10/25/15 7:47 p.m.

Congrats on getting your logbook!

java230 Reader
10/26/15 9:46 a.m.

Congrats! Thats a big step!

Bubs Reader
11/4/15 1:29 p.m.

I'm so glad that I was able to get Raven Logbooked before winter! Currently I just need to make sure that the car will pass tech, so I definitely need to replace the front control arms again and give my new suspension a looking over, as I think the springs I ordered aren't going to be up to the job. Otherwise, I just need a firesuit and a HANS and I'll be good to go!

I also finally got the '72 CT70, now a "CT140" back on the road! It isn't 100% complete yet but it's great to get it out and running before the snow starts flying. The conversion to a 12v electrical system was an excellent choice as well.

Such a fun little bike. What a riot!

irish44j PowerDork
11/5/15 4:48 p.m.

Looking good. But hey, if that's Ozgur leaning into your car, don't take his advice on engines. He likes to blow up Sentras

(kidding....he's actually currently building my e30 RA cage so I trust him with any advice).

Bubs Reader
11/6/15 5:16 p.m.

That's indeed Ozgur! Him and a NASA Logbook inspector from the southern east coast checked out the car at that RallySprint. I ended up getting the car Logbooked with an inspector in Massachusetts.

I do like Ozgur's decision to run the famed SR20VE, when the time comes that I desire more power it will definitely be good to go that route. Something closer to 200hp compared to the regular SR20's 140.

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