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MrJoshua PowerDork
10/22/14 2:01 p.m.

The GRM Challenge has for many years been the perfect focus for my oddly directed automotive obsession. For nearly as many years this forum and the Challenge have been the source of most of my closest friends and some of my favorite social acquaintances. Approximately 6 years ago I invited my wife to help me with a Challenge build and things went beautifully with some interesting last minute developments. The last few weeks of that build my personal family got infinietely more demanding/incredible. The GRM family came together in spectacular fashion. Thank you to my beautiful wife Jenna, Spinout007, DyintoRace, OsterKraut, Mitchell, gobs of family members, and many tolerant neighbors for making competing that year possible. We made it all the way through the event and broke the car on the last drag run of the day.

But we took home some hardware.

In $2010 Spinout007, Derick Freese, and myself brought the beast back for another run and competed fairly well but sadly didn't bring home any trophies.
Ready to focus on other things I listed the car in 2011 and sold it to Dyintorace who entered it as another last minute build That year we made it orange and put it 5th in the autocross and 8th overall.
After the $2011 Challenge Dynitorace sold it to THE FIRM who used it as a student track car and occasional GRM article background car. After a year or so of not knowing quite what to do with such an oddity of a track car THE FIRM put it on craigslist. The general public really sucks at craigslist so the price kept dropping. Eventually Dyintorace and myself couldnt resist so he brought it back into the GRM family. He sat on it for a year then sold it to jsymonds. Jysymonds eventually decided to sell it and another GRMer SVreX bought it.

After SVreX bought the car he reached out to all of us who had hands in the original build. The car suffered boost issues. He then started to prep the car and as often happens with this project life got in the way. We were talking on the phone one day about how the local crew isn't entering a car and how he is out of time and the brilliant idea happened. Lets once again call on the GRM Family to see if we can get this confused spawn of multiple last minute builds ready to compete again. On 10/12/2014 The car was dragged to its original birthplace, the garage of a house I dont even live in anymore, and the work began. Spinout007 and I planned to fix as many mechanical issues as we could, tune it to run on 15psi instead of the measly 12 it ran in $2011, solve the zero travel front suspension design, and then park it next to the Parking lot challenge build and let SVreX and anyone else interested refurb the brakes, paint paint paint, and amazingly enough give it its first alignment ever.

Spinout007 UltraDork
10/22/14 2:45 p.m.

I will say this.... IT NEEDS AN ALIGNMENT! Had a skivvy check moment when I errm "pushed" it a bit into a long left hand sweeper last night. Nothing too hairy, but it started to wiggle pretty good @ 80mph.

MrJoshua PowerDork
10/22/14 5:53 p.m.

The first step was to sort the suspension. The suspension on the car (since $2010) consisted of 550lb/in motorcycle coilovers on the rear and rabbit tokico illuminas with 550lb/in motorcycle springs in the front. The rear suspension works beautifully but the front needed some attention. The illuminas were waaay to long. The top of the shock body sat about 3/4" away from a mildly cut Miata bump stock. Trying to protect the shock and also increase the front spring rate to a more Miata typical ratio we threw on a motorcycle bump stop. It worked well enough to get us 5th in the autocross in $2011 on crusty old Hoosiers and zero alignment adjustment but Alan said it pushed. It also was a little hard on the bump stops.

My goal was to throw on a beautiful set of Leda remote reservoir coilovers with a 6" 800lb spring but they would have required minor bushing fabrication I am just not set up to do right now.

The answer ended up being a bit more aggressive bump stop cut. We took out 2 1/2" of bump stop.

I'm hoping the 20mm wider rear tires help prevent the tailhappy nature equal spring rates all around may cause.

MrJoshua PowerDork
10/22/14 9:52 p.m.

We have drag tires!

I bought 4 brand new discontinued Hoosier 27.5x9x13 drag tires for $35 each way back when I was learning to fabricate by sorta building a Ro-spit. These were mounted once for the $2011 build where the drags were rained out and then traded to SVreX for use of the wheels they were mounted on. They are old, someone chewed up the bead when they dismounted them, and they are a bit dirty. I've never used drag slicks before and I'm excited to see what they can do.

Tmc22 New Reader
10/23/14 8:33 a.m.

Just finished reading the original build thread. This is awesome. Great story - glad to see it is going to end up back at The Challenge where it started. Good luck with it, I will be following this thread with interest.

dyintorace UberDork
10/23/14 8:46 a.m.

This car has been so much fun for so many people within the GRM family. I'm excited to see it make another appearance. Here are a few shots from the $2011 GRM Challenge.

MrJoshua PowerDork
10/24/14 7:43 a.m.

After sorting the suspension the next step was to make it go!

When the car was entered in the $2011 challenge by DyintoRace we tuned it for 12 psi using Tuner Studio's Autotune program and some maps generously donated IIRC by PseudoSport. Since then the car has seen a few years of hard living and neglect. By the time SVreX bought the car he couldn't get any boost out of it. He fixed intercooler piping leaks, turbo to manifold leaks, wastegate adjustment, and all the general crustiness associated with the turbo. Well he found the boost. All 21psi of it!

We never tuned for that.

Fortunately at 13.1 psi Megasquirt was trying to cut spark to enforce Dyinto and my chosen boost cut. Then at 21 psi Megasquirt was cutting fuel. Lots of bucking and spitting but it probably saved that motor. All I can say is stock Miatae may not last with a basically disconnected wasgate line, but they feel damn good while they do. 1/3 throttle was 13 psi!
In the process of chasing boost leaks, SVreX had adjusted the boost control bleeder valve to basically imitate pulling the reference line off of the wastegate. We needed to adjust it to a more reasonable level, and raise the MS boost cut to allow 15 psi. Considering the fact that the was being tuned in a residential area and boost cut sounds like some sort of rapid fire shotgun, tuning was interesting. At this point we were heading into rush hour traffic to attempt to tune. (Turn up your speakers and you can hear it barely trigger cut)

We adjusted the bleeder 1/4 more turn and took some back roads to try to find some space. A decent second gear pull Sounded good Then we put in a few gallons of gas, let the autotune fix and map weirdness, and headed back out into traffic.

Sadly every time we ran autotune it got worse. We ended up 20 minutes away from either home base with 1/2 hour of daylight with a car that didn't want to do anything well. After chasing settings and failed sensors we heard then spotted the giant spraying fuel leak at the fuel rail at the top of injector 3. With no ability to do a roadside repair we crossed our fingers and Spinout007 took off towards home.

Fortunately he made it and promptly replaced all the o-rings and an unrelated leaky coolant hose. Then he threw out all the tune changes the poor AutoTune had made trying to fix faulty equipment, spent some time tuning idle, and packed it in to wait for the challenge parking lot build.

MrJoshua PowerDork
10/24/14 7:51 a.m.

Holy Crap Aussie stuffed a huge motor and lots of Nitrous into an Andy Chassis!

MrJoshua PowerDork
10/24/14 7:53 a.m.

The 6 year last minute build and the first time last minute build.

MrJoshua PowerDork
10/24/14 8:04 a.m.

Paul kept the family theme going and showed up with two sons and a friend with his son. They set about set about fixing one of the few remaining glaring cosmetic issues remaining with the car. The visual inconsistency. The silver interior with the bright orange exterior just didn't look finished. (because it wasn't )

Many man (and child labor) hours later it was getting closer to right:

At the same time SVReX managed to coach an army of highly competent but inexperienced people through a 4 corner pad and rotor replacement including fighting the not always logical Miata rear calipers.

Now deep into dark the car was packed up for the night. Friday brings alignment and more tuning.

MrJoshua PowerDork
10/24/14 10:02 p.m.

3rd in the autocross, IIRC 13.77 in the drags.

Woody MegaDork
10/24/14 10:15 p.m.

Nice job!

Spinout007 UberDork
10/24/14 11:25 p.m.

I swear I'm bringing a giant assortment of o-rings next year and charging 5$ each. We had another .5 second at least in the tune alone but due to a shredded fuel rail o-ring we couldn't get to it. next year Gutty, next year...

SVreX MegaDork
10/26/14 12:48 a.m.

This is a thread I really should not have missed. I've been a little too wrapped up in the Challenge to pay attention to the board.

I've got some good friends in Gainesville. We have shared our incestual obsession with odd cars and parts, traded a lot of things, and socialized for years. This week I also realized what a good team we can make, even if it is an oddball long distance love affair.

This is my 11th year at the Challenge, and I have never won an award. Good friends, crazy times, but never able to pull together a team that could finish a great car. I've learned to leave the competitive stuff home, and have as much fun as I can.

All of my builds have been family builds that include children, homeschoolers, and Boy Scouts. Not the most experienced pit crew.

I bought this car looking to have a little fun, and use it as a platform for teaching future racers. I figured I could have a great time at the Challenge, then use it for regular autocrossing and help and student use and fun.

Little did I know how well it could do.

We thrashed the car through 9 passes on the autocross, and found ourselves sitting comfortably in 3rd place. A later fun run bested our time by 7 tenths, which would have given the car 2nd place. But we also learned the weaknesses, and the improvements we can make. A future top finish looks to be in reach.

Then came the drags. We switched our suspension setups, and started off with 17 second runs. I've spent the last few years driving AWD and FWD, and I needed to dial in the driver. We kept chiseling it down until we got to the low 15's, and I called in telling them I had nothing left, and someone else should drive. Then I realized it wasn't me- the car was not boosting. A quick trip to the pits found the charge pipe disconnected blown off, and every t-clamp stripped. We triplied up the jam nuts and torqued down the clamps on the exhaust tube piping.

Next run, 14.019 @ 96 mph. I had to try again. I did an exact duplicate run- 14.019 @ 96.

I couldn't leave an 01.

I fired one more shot and pulled a 13.79, good enough for a 6th place drag finish (in a Miata!). I handed the car over, and Spinout007 had cooling issues on the first run. We hot wired the cooling fans, but then found a fuel leak again at the injector rail. We tried, but without an o-ring, we were done for the night.

We packaged together our team concourse effort, and made our pitch.

The shock was when we were told that we missed the overall podium by a tenth of a point. I don't think it can get any closer (or more fun) than that!

Mr. Joshua has a great engineering mind for this stuff, and Spinout007 did a great job tuning. I learned the value of truly dialing in a car, and realized (after many years of settling for "having fun" instead of winning), that the podium is only 0.1 point away!

We've got a whole year to dial this in, and a great team (even if the average age is only 14)! The 3rd place autocross trophy is just a start!

We'll be back next year, with more kids, a better sorted car, and ready to rumble, not just play.

Look out Gutty!

MrJoshua PowerDork
10/26/14 12:49 a.m.

If I had just mentioned the bathroom stall wall bushings. Sigh.

Paul summed it up. It was probably the most fun I have had at a challenge. There is lots of low hanging fruit so this car should come back much better. I cant wait for Next year.

SVreX MegaDork
10/26/14 12:53 a.m.

Oh, and thanks Mr. J, and Spinout. This was the most fun Challenge year yet, and it is mostly due to you guys.

Also good to have Mrs. J and all the little Js around, Mrs. Spinout, and Dyntorace, who is also pretty important to this car and this build.

Great fun, with a ragtag bunch of folks!

MrJoshua PowerDork
4/23/15 8:49 p.m.

And now for a new adventure on the closest thing to a fully complete suspension this thing has ever had: Round and Round she Go!

See you guys at the Mitty!

SVreX MegaDork
4/23/15 11:21 p.m.

This poor little car. Thrashing is all it gets.

Ain't gonna stop. I've got 2 more motors sitting on the bench.

alfadriver UltimaDork
4/24/15 7:54 a.m.
MrJoshua wrote: My goal was to throw on a beautiful set of Leda remote reservoir coilovers with a 6" 800lb spring but they would have required minor bushing fabrication I am just not set up to do right now.

Care to post some details of your plans? This package was Challenge legal?

(I still have a fantasy that a Challenge car can trophy at the SCCA nationals)

MrJoshua PowerDork
4/24/15 8:59 a.m.

The Ledas were a GRM classifieds purchase. I sold them to Paul for what I had in them which was $125. The spring is a cut NASCAR 400lb spring.

MrJoshua PowerDork
4/24/15 9:58 a.m.

In reply to alfadriver:

44 Dwarf's links in this thread show a promising ebay option. Since we haven't needed new shocks I haven't explored them much. The real question is whether they can be made to handle the spring rate needed up front.

Swank Force One
Swank Force One MegaDork
4/24/15 10:40 a.m.

What's the bushing fab you need?

MrJoshua PowerDork
4/24/15 10:58 a.m.
Swank Force One wrote: What's the bushing fab you need?

Before the challenge I needed to very slightly modify the bushings that were in Illumina shock lower eye to make them fit the Leda shock lower eye. My Lathe motor is dead and I hadn't and still haven't gotten around to fixing it. The car is in Georgia with SvReX now and he was able to do the modifications. IIRC he needed to reduce the OD of the bushing, increase the bushing bolt hole diameter, narrow the lower mounting eye of the Ledas, rotate the remote reservoir line to shock mounting angle, and mount the reservoirs in a low temperature place. He may have needed to do something to the upper Miata shock mount as well, but I'm not sure. Some oil and nitrogen were lost but I don't foresee that being a problem in this event.

SVreX MegaDork
4/24/15 2:59 p.m.

In reply to MrJoshua:

Yep. That's what I did.

But I didn't use a lathe. I used a grinder and a BIG hammer.

SVreX MegaDork
8/14/15 8:00 p.m.

We're BAAAAck!!

If there is one thing I stink at, it's build threads. I apologize sincerely, because I know everybody loves them, but I'm just weak at writing them. So, you may have to listen to the combined voices of Mr. Joshua and me to get this story right, which is appropriate, because the car is divided between us.

Literally. Part of the car is is Florida, and part is in GA. I'll get back to that later...

I'd also like to introduce a user many of you know, but have never seen him post. You will see some posts in this thread from That Shakespeare Guy who, in addition to being a fine young thespian, is my son. He is gonna help me at the GA end posting some pics, etc.

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