fidelity101 UltraDork
3/8/19 8:22 a.m.

starting my parts hoarding to achieve the list and plan for proper spending but until then, MORE BRAPS! (ice racing)


fidelity101 UltraDork
3/25/19 2:40 p.m.

With ice racing season over it is onto to tackling the to do list for SOFR race prep:


out with the old and jank!


and in with some fresh floor/heavier gauge way overbuilt nonsense! but now there isn't a rust hole by where I rest my clutch leg heel on the driver floor...

the old oil cooler is actually fine but was mounted poorly and getting bad airflow. the 2 mile course on the lake I would get oil temps at 250* by the time I crossed the line. something something 8000 rpm constantly might have had something to do with it...

so I called up my friends at Griffin again and got this sucker mounted up:


its the same volume as the stock one (~1cu inch) the but shrouded/fan poweredness of it should be a nice touch, the haltech is already setup to trigger this so I have the wiring ready to go, but here are the overall specs:

  • Overall Height (in):12.470 in.
  • Overall Width (in):12.060 in.
  • Overall Thickness (in):6.500 in.
  • Cooler Material:Aluminum
  • Inlet/outlet Size:1/2 in. NPT
  • Single row
  • 800CFM SPAL fan

now its time to measure and order up some AN lines then get cracking at the other to do list items, mostly easy stuff but it always takes longer than you think and cost twice as much. only 2 months left until the event so need to get this going quick then put some miles on it and make sure nothing comes apart. 

fidelity101 UltraDork
3/26/19 12:57 p.m.

All mounted up! time to get some lines run and installed then turn on the function in the Haltech and do a track day and see how it performs. 

fidelity101 UltraDork
4/9/19 12:50 p.m.

and done!

next up is roof stuff


#scoop scoop!

fidelity101 UltraDork
6/24/19 6:00 p.m.

I don't have any in progress photos of the roof stuff but I added a scoop and I added a vent within side to help combat the internal oven conditions but I do have an obligtory "drive (shakedown because you ran out of time) commute your race car to work day.

The 2nd part of that battle is adding these bad boys for impromptu picnics!

Okay no... not actually, BUT I downsized them a bit to fit the conveniently placed tubs where the rear seats normally would go - and because of this they have rubber drain plugs which is perfect because this cheap cooler strapped down does cause some leaks, but nothing to worry about or notice but is a pretty stout/simple design.

On the left is the unfinished setup on the right is a ratchet strap bolted down with a weldnut covering an existing chassis hole with a random pair of powdered coated brackets I had in my scrap pile (prob some extra HF pieces laying around) and with some quick disconnects you can remove the cooler toss the ice out and be ready rock after leaving service, it was about 300$ per side (w/ shirt) in total to do and worth every penny in the 90* humid weather heat soaking with the rx7 exhaust. 


I added some insulation by the amazon foot for the leads running from the cooler to the shirt with some briggs n straton 1/4" hand shut off valves (for fuel) so I don't pee everywhere when I get up and disconnect. 


after that it was prep the car and get everything as ready as I could be (and I did) but it still was not enough - but that's rally!!!


fidelity101 UltraDork
6/25/19 8:42 p.m.

Event did not start out smoothly.. nor was it smooth at any point in the event...


we Failed tech Thursday due to co-driver's HANS expired luckily JEGS had one in stock and hurried there to be back in time for the 1st stage later that night, it was only a 1.5hr drive. ..


The car felt funny and thought nothing of it until the failure became obvious. which didn't bode well into Friday's stages, I had lost rear shocks a failed bearing support component rendering them useless and incredibly noisy. here was a lot of confusion after service on a stage late in the day that was amplified by a communication breakdown (storm) ultimately leading to a re-seed and just as we hand in our time card at FTC we lost battery power. Got flat towed back made for an interesting Friday because we could not fix the car in service due to the severe hail storm! Was able to fix it friday evening going into saturday and had no real issues that day but I did manage to get the car airborn on one stage and hit a water crossing as speed so thats pretty much worth it. 1st timer for those events in car, a  lot over the weekend actually... POR!

74 cars started, 45 finished, we started 28th overall and finished 22nd with 5 in class out 24 cant be more proud of the results and awesome spread of competitors - which was good enough to take 6th over all in the River City Rally - RCR 2wd challenge which is good for 50% off entry to Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally (STPR) 

amazing roads ands a crazy good fun adventure so here are the action shots!





fidelity101 UltraDork
8/1/19 10:23 a.m.

Okay so I have been bad in updating this but I have also been bad at doing actual updates the car, last few summers I spent 90% of the time in the garage and this summer I made a point to take a well deserved break. I did manage to upgrade the trailer (instead of fixing it) too so this will have its own mini project for cleaning and organization sake.  Sold the open trailer for 1700 w/ the aluminum ramps and picked this up for 2900, its 8.5x20" and can fit the car + a snowmobile with little room to spare so it should do me fine!

so post SOFR I knew I needed to do shocks, left the car with a shop not too far from me to get done, well it took a lot longer than expected and a few hiccups along the way but it didn't matter as I had a busy early summer of family events so it was a moot point. However, that is done and gone and the new shocks are here and ready to rock! 

I ditched the off the shelf bilsteins and went with a bilstein motorsports SL style. They have more valving options and with the shrader valve the pressure is adjustible, nothing too wild but should be interesting to see how it performs this weekend during summer sno*drift.

Heim joints on both ends and a double shear bottom bracket for extra robustness.



but god damn are they clanky! I was not anticipating the noise from bumps on these, because of the heim joint the shock can rotate a little on the bearing but when it reaches its stopping point its quite loud. 1st time even running shocks like this - is this normal? Without a rubber bushing of a sort its to be expected to be harsher but wow, was not anticipating that. Big difference will be for this weekend's event and see if I need to drop my spring rate to the lower style because of the increased damping. I'm not super knowledgeable in the suspension tuning area so I will just play it by ear and go from there. 


Final prep for the weekend, knock out all the tasks on the white board nearly, leaving alignment & oil change for last until I find this. 


Co-Driver side:


Driver side: 

Que sesame street's "one of these things is not like the other" song...

What you are looking at is the outboard attachment point for the rear trailing arm which has the cam for toe adjustment. 


This must have happened during SOFR because the rust and dirt is showing that this has been happening already. Surprised I didn't notice it so tonite will be welding gussets and reinforcing the affected areas and re-try the alignment tomorrow. 


its always a last minute rush before the race even when you are not trying to. Granted I spent about 3 days touching up the paint from the giant subaru sponsor sticker from the prior event but at least I have a little bit of time still so no worries, quick push and be all ready!  Lets see how this event goes because in about 6 weeks - STPR is up and I won half off entry which makes this event very appealing...

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UberDork
8/1/19 10:44 a.m.

If the shocks are clanking constantly, something somewhere is loose- every time I've had double heim coilovers they've made a lot of noise at full droop but not a ton anywhere else, so I'd make sure that all of the hardware fits tightly and that the joints are working properly.

fidelity101 UltraDork
8/1/19 12:23 p.m.

not constantly but any good bump it seems, but I think some of that is being masked by the ear missing off of the sub frame, once I fix that I will retest.  Luckily in the Detroit metro area there is no shortage of E36 M3 quality roads. I have a great test road by my house that I should video tape for the sheer terribleness of the road and the greatness for diag'ing clunks. Its a double edged sword...

fidelity101 UltraDork
8/2/19 10:58 a.m.
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ said:

If the shocks are clanking constantly, something somewhere is loose- every time I've had double heim coilovers they've made a lot of noise at full droop but not a ton anywhere else, so I'd make sure that all of the hardware fits tightly and that the joints are working properly.

nope, fixed the break and this is the issue. its pretty damn annoying:

I think I am going to print some spacers for anti rotation so I can stop hearing that noise. 

Knurled. MegaDork
8/2/19 11:15 a.m.

Rod ends make the most incredible amount of noise...

fidelity101 UltraDork
8/2/19 1:43 p.m.

I may even just buy some rubber washers and stack a few in there, mcmastercarr for the rescue, once again! lol. 

fidelity101 UltraDork
8/8/19 3:45 p.m.
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ said:

If the shocks are clanking constantly, something somewhere is loose- every time I've had double heim coilovers they've made a lot of noise at full droop but not a ton anywhere else, so I'd make sure that all of the hardware fits tightly and that the joints are working properly.

hindsight after the DNF at SSD - it may have been partily the rear brake calipers coming loose...

however that clunk is more noticible driving around town versus on stage I don't hear that AT ALL. 


After fixing the DNF issue. We ran SS5 and SS6 - without the brakes dragging the car was feeling much faster but got a little lost in the "notes" and had "intercom issues" which turned out to be the camelback hose bouncing around and adjusting my volume, you can hear the confusion between us a bit but tried to give the best I could. unrecorded time of ~5:54 would have put us 3rd overall on this stage. Getting more used to the car at higher speeds and the recent shocks were a HUGE improvement. time for more driver mod and better pre-race inspection. Enjoy the braps (be sure to click the setting for HD)!



artur1808 Reader
8/9/19 6:57 a.m.
fidelity101 said:
[...] Getting more used to the car at higher speeds and the recent shocks were a HUGE improvement. 


As someone that's never had fancy shocks, can you elaborate on what you were feeling from the drivers seat that made them a "huge" improvement over the old ones. You had off-the-shelf bilstein HD's before, right?

PS. Bummer about the DNF, would love to see more 2wd (especially rwd) cars setting top times!

fidelity101 UltraDork
8/13/19 10:46 a.m.

it wasn't as bouncy so when I was at high speed washboard areas it felt smooth - car felt stable and didnt want to squat as much under the gas like it normally did but was able to put the power down in a lot of areas mid corner where it wasn't. 

fidelity101 UltraDork
8/20/19 2:55 p.m.

The worst part about having the brake failure is trying to look under the engine bay for a bolt that would suffice, and after being disappointed that there are no "available" M8x1.25 hardware there you close the hood and get passed by sweep, by being passed by sweep you have to hand in your time card for the day resulting in a DNF... 

Meanwhile all of this is happening and you have the hood come up on you at about 45mph on the way back to service in yet another defeat because you were too distracted to re-install the hood pins. 


only a few years ago I had put the cage in and I was worried about getting glass, seemed to be no problem well that's not the case anymore - this is an old car and is starting to get old car problems (hence why the rx8 chassis is so tempting...)  so ive been scrounging around looking for a replacement glass which I think to have found a replacement but won't know for a few days as it needs to be shipped to the service location and make sure its not cracked or chipped. Not exactly sure how much that is going to cost either now that I think about it...

which also means a new 45 dollar sticker because that one is never coming off in 1 piece... hooray! :(

compound the fact that the hood is broken, I have already removed it and dropped it off for repair (time to polish the turd) I am not willing to replace the hood yet as I would like to cut & tube the front end sometime when the time is right (think smashy smashy mr tree or something)  so a quick n dirty job and it should be on its feet again. 

countdown to STPR? I leave for PA on Sept 9th and the clock is ticking... FAST!

I spent sometime to inspect/clean and properly toque/threadlock the rear brake parts. The initial Idea of having the rear brakes upgraded before the next event is likely not going to happen but I do have some spares so a quick mockup of whats to come. 

ditch the integral parking brake garbage, go from sliding to fixed piston style, eliminate moving parts, go from iron to aluminum components, the hydraulics are already setup for AN fittings so adapting is easy, not to mention the brake adjust valve at the handbrake so this should be a pretty great upgrade! These reman rx7 calipers are getting worse and worse and I have gone through many a rear set through the ownership of this car come to think of it. 

300zx rear rotors are 11.7" diameter a touch larger and do not fit on the rx7 rear suspension, factory vented rx7 rear brakes are 10.7" diameter, the overall thickness between the 2 rotors is 2mm and these calipers seem to be more readily available and similarly priced, sometimes even cheaper. 

Some people put rx7 front brakes on the rear and run four 4-pot calipers but that seemed like overkill, ive searched other brake swap upgrades and nothing really works back there, some FD upgrades but you still have a similar caliper style as the FC so its not a big difference. STI/Evo brembos are impossible to find and 3 times the cost per caliper nearly. CTS V stuff is all 4+ piston ginormous and a lot off off the shelf solutions for 2 piston via willwood or brembo were either too large/small or even more expensive...

So now I have gone down this brake upgrade path and potentially can make kits in the future with the DMLS 3d printer for others so this may be a slow roll...

People have used these calipers on FC where they put it parallel to the existing caliper and use a standalone e-brake but I think that bracket setup isn't going to be robust enough for rally. 


(stolen from the internet)


this bracket does fix a key issue though, placing the z32 caliper offset a touch rearward as the offset of the rotor to rotor hat are different between the two, so to center the brake caliper pads on the rotor you have to raise the entire hub surface by 5.5mm, so a spacer needs to be made to accommodate the hub bore of the wheel and the hub bore of the rotor. 

Luckily 1 factory brake caliper attachment point bolts up and works out pretty okay!


see? not too shabby!

depending on your wheel offset you may also need spacers. for running stock wheels like me 10-15mm is plenty and with these ARP extended studs I don't think adding a little bit of spacer will cause issues, especially in the back. 

I made a preliminary prototype for the bracket out of scrap steel and weld, its too ugly to share but will do a side by side with the actual milled piece. 




aside from that the car didn't get much abuse at summer sno*drift so prep is minimal, I need swap out the window regulators and crank handles and sort this whole hood/windshield out 

more to come!

irish44j MegaDork
8/20/19 8:28 p.m.

Dammit, I always forget about this thread because it doesn't have "rally" in the title and I'm not naturally drawn to read about rotary builds lol.

So had to catch up.

A couple things:

1. Always carry a few lengths of every bolt/nut size the car uses! toss them in a gear bag, or whatever. We've had to use some of our spares (either for ourselves or fellow competitors).

2. Kind of surprised Sweep passed you. It's my understanding that as long as you're able to get moving and not past MPL, sweep isn't supposed to pass you. Or maybe I'm reading what happened to you wrong - were you able to drive the car without the brake bolt?

3. I'll PM you about one of the other things since I don't want to post it publicly ;)


fidelity101 UltraDork
8/21/19 8:27 a.m.

I used to always carry a bag of nuts and bolts, i have somehow removed it for some reason...  but I have been working on my dedicated car toolkit and I have lots of spare hardware just not any of the brake caliper size... 

we were not able to get moving and sweep passed us, then we mended it and headed to service to call it a day. luckily after service we did 2 fun runs because those are my favorite sno*drift stages



fidelity101 UltraDork
8/28/19 9:22 a.m.

Well it looks like the brakes wont be ready for STPR but potentially LSPR meanwhile the hood is getting repaired, the windshield is being replaced and I have wrapped the exhaust to help combat temps and prevent heat soak on the co-driver floor. Hopefully some cooler temperatures than SOFR or SSD and we may not even use the cool suits but I doubt it will get that cold., maybe the evening stages. 


Now its more or less pack up and get ready in the next 2 weeks and come back with a great story and hopefully some successes. 

artur1808 Reader
9/13/19 7:30 a.m.

Just noticed you and Josh are next to each other in start order. Good luck out there! 

fidelity101 UltraDork
9/16/19 4:25 p.m.

In reply to artur1808 :

they grouped all the 80s cars together for the most part. the RA speed factors were gone and so were the SOFR ones so I went from 55mph to 25 but with all the red crosses we were next to our old buddies and made new friends so all in all a hell of a good time! 

fidelity101 UltraDork
10/8/19 10:43 a.m.

Brake issue has been side bar'd mostly because its been fixed with new hardware and loctite, also I am super late to update the STPR re-cap and I had over-summarized on the FB page so I will give you the raw dog facts.

Managed to get 50% off from the SOFR event on my entry, fanagled my way into half off national instead of regional (because I'm an ass) and also managed to slowly make my way to the rally because where I work we have production plants in central/western PA so I was able to provide some training to the engineering teams meanwhile comping mileage, regardless of the 7klbs I had behind me... so because of this I was able to make this rally affordable. Fun fact this event was only ~60 miles closer than LSPR, which I will head to in a weeks time, and this event was 2 states away! I <3 MI


I had made plenty of time to be sure to make sure all bolts were tight and everything was up to snuff but like always you can't plan for everything.  I broke my outer door handle (again) on the car as I loaded it onto the trailer. At least it can open from the inside without issue as they are different mechanisms and the windows roll down incase of an emergency. This event overall I have mixed feelings, I felt it was organized in a way to take your money and put it right into the community, as such to really take advantage of the event you needed to get there Monday or Tuesday just to participate in a 2 day rally that happens on Fri/Sat - I'm all for the community but there was a lot of unnecessary waiting and organizing which I would rather have enjoyed resting. WM was the sponsor and they charged for parking and made their fair share of cash from spectators but it was nice for them because it made it easy to spectate a few different stages without having to go really anywhere which was cool however in a landfill site there wasnt a garbage can to be found which everyone found ironic and wondered if litering was actually litering here because well... its a dump!

"race day #1" Recce/Tech:

We only got to  recce the WM stages (super rough/wet) to spend all day in tech due to some stupid issues and a very grouchy scrutineer, I am pretty sure factory subaru were the only ones unscathed from inspection, everyone had issues! Because of this we missed the recce for the forrest stages which were beautiful and fast however,  if we wanted to continue we had to make adjustments so we proceeded to cut larger holes in the seat to support the belt buckles from potentially getting jammed, a few misc other things were easy fixes and I was still struggling with the door and last minute changes to the plastic side windows accordingly and eventually we passed. Then we exhaustly do expose Thursday night which is just a hurry up and wait but I got to meet Petter Solberg!!!!!


proper race day #1

Friday started out well on stage 1 going blind into the wet forest we passed 2 cars and caught a 3rd at the finish but my co-driver was experiencing his first 2 day rally was taking a toll on him a bit physically on stage 2 and we slowed down to give him some air (because he nearly passed out) until we came upon our first red cross about 1/2 mile later which makes that stage null and void essentially and we transited the next stage. This is the bummer of the re-seed being back of the pack can be annoying because you are more likely to encounter issues like this and they happened again on day 2... twice but luckily we were only physically apart of one of them but made for an interesting event. 


After that we finished the day slowly picking up the pace and deal with the WM stages. Slowly. Saturday was more forest stages and were ready but fate had other ideas. Red cross for the 2nd stage of the day and after a long wait and reroute we went to run another stage only to be the 3rd responder for another red cross. This was just after skipping 2 stages from another more serious red cross incident where a co-driver had a compound fracture, there we some injuries this event but everyone was able to recover okay, racing is dangerous and I don't want to overshadow the issue of them being hurt due to my selfishness either. 

Rerouted once more we headed back to service and skipped many stages through the weekend from the events having an interesting time but enjoyed the beautiful views and friendly people. With a lot of time on the side of the road we got to chat with the other competitors which was very enjoyable, made some new friends, got the jump on video car seemed to only run slower but nothing detrimental by having x6 the quantity of 2 stroke for premix (sorry for the fog everyone) so hopefully we got a good blue flame photo!  Car held up great, nothing crazy to report damage wise just spent days cleaning afterwards


we had a good spot for service, slightly uphill so it wasn't so soft. 

we managed to finish 4th in class, with the red crosses and a lot of stages canceled we were in no contention for podium so we backed off the pace and just aimed to finish, great event overall learned a lot and made the best of it. As of now leading into LSPR ("season ender") We are sitting in an uncomfortable 5th in class with some great competition for the next event we will have to earn our stripes certainly. 

next up is action shots! STPR is full of them due to a famous jump at a spectator point then as I unload from this event I am prepping for LSPR which is only a 4 week gap. Luckily the car held together great and I have minimal things to address. 

fidelity101 UltraDork
10/9/19 11:12 a.m.

here are the action shots!!!!!!!! and 2 action vids. Josh will have to send the SS1 footage when his co-driver gets around to it and I need to get the onboard footage from my co-driver because I forgot the gopro at home...












the last corner of the event...


fidelity101 UltraDork
12/4/19 10:38 a.m.

a lot to catch up on since September but only 4 weeks after that event was the "final" event of year at LSPR!


Overall fantastic event, spent a good amount of time in inspection and preparation and it paid off, bent 2 wheels over the whole event and I never bent one at STPR… Arvon was rougher than I thought, I guess…

Day 1 we tech early then nap before heading to expose, the Friday stages were all fast and fun but it had us on a power disadvantage overall but generally we were running mid pack for O2WD overall keeping it consistent and staying on the road. Totally wussing out at hoopers jump and assuming I was carrying more speed (I wasn’t) than I was turned into the corner way too early putting me on 2 wheels at the spectator point only for a soft landing and a power through. Anyone got footage of that??? Later in the night we got mooned by a group of spectators, it was hilarious! Blamed it on my friends but they had no idea – it was just some randos.

Day 2 are my favorite stages and we just had a blast, the speeds are better for suited for using all of 3rd gear and drive the car like a snowmobile and it was fun. We were pretty competitive until post rerunning of arvon where a bead leak was noticed at refuel before the street stage, we lost about 2 and a half minutes on those stages but played it safe.
My family came up to visit for the first time and they had told me before leaving that they noticed that everyone is so nice and helpful at this event, this was their first rally ever and they were great to see such great human beings everywhere! Huge reason why I love this sport – all the great people behind it and all around it – always!



but with last year DNFing myself out of competition this was a worthy comeback - 


here are some action shots!






the team

the end!


and with the BMW and tiburon DNFing it made my point race much closer for the season ender driver championship, there was 1 more rally 750 miles away and I needed to prep before but with a lot of travel and work conflicts in the mean time it was going to be tight...



fidelity101 UltraDork
12/4/19 10:56 a.m.

However this rally never came to be due to the intense snowstorm they canceled the event, so for the season I placed 2nd in Open 2WD in the regional driver championship. 

next year there will be less racing and more car/truck/trailer prep as well as catch up on some other random things around the house and my blown engine rx8...

So the hot items on the RX7 for 2020:

  1. Exhaust
  2. Rear Brakes
  3. Rear shock mounts
  4. intake (ITBs!)
  5. bridgeport?

Slow project has slow progress but next up on the chopping block for the rally car is fixing the hodge podged exhaust. I made an initial concept and had it printed in plastic, eventually this will be 3d printed metal.  Here is the first prototype:

Meanwhile the brake caliper project will re-continue soon enough as it seems rear brake parts for the FC are becoming NLA and they are a terrible design for racing anyways as there are tons of failure points 

but good progress on the shocks, which I have been fighting basically all year... and with the canceled event in Dec this makes me really mad that I failed in August for a rally I would have done very well at due to rushing because shocks were done so poorly by the shop I took them too. 

With the clunk still in place I found a solution, get rid of the heim joints!!!! the upper was a bit easier to do so I tackled this first. I had a friend of mine make new mounts to accommodate the shock bushing. 

I even had to replace the schrader valve on these because one was broken post STPR and the other was leaking past the threads, had to get part of the eyelid ground down to fit these bushings but all in all they worked out quite good. 

beefier mounting arms were made as well and produced from slits in a top down weld approach so these are significantly stronger than the crap I got that I didn't want to begin with, also found out that the old mounts were starting to egg shape where the collar is supported by the bushing so this was a good time to begin the bushing style swap. Fun fact bilstein does not offer this type of conversion kit, I had to source these on the web but they were maybe 15 bucks for a pair of these poly bushings. 



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