well, another action packed weekend under my belt. I’m the slowest thing out there but I survived another weekend with myself and the car intact. Went to Joe’s on Friday and had him scale the car and adjust the toe. Needed to do this because we changed rear springs at Evil Genius when I was doing the dyno runs to find the vibration. Got to the track Friday afternoon and got setup in my garage space. I’ve been REALLY lucky to not only get garage space for these first two race weekends but also to be next to the CMC2 guys (Adam, Mike and Ron).
I felt a *bit* more prepared than last time in terms of the tools and supplies I brought. After getting the car gassed up and torq’ing the lug nuts I went home. Woke up at the crack to get back to the track at 7am and got ready for the 8:05am warmup. Got out on track and on my 2nd lap I thought start/finish was showing me the meatball flag but I wasn’t sure. Came around again and was able to see the small sign with my car # next to the flag. So I pitted after only 3 laps. Drove up to the flag station and was told I was leaking gas… great, now what?! so I pulled in to the garage and took a look. I think all that happened was I had the fuel cell completely full and some fuel sloshed out of the vent tube. Another lesson learned. Don’t overfill the fuel cell. My vent hose vented in the trunk and Adam suggested I vent it outside the car. So, I took a longer piece of hose and made a coil and then drilled a hole in the bottom of the trunk and passed the hose through. A small improvement to the car that will hopefully help keep me from getting further meatballs for leaking fuel…
In the qualifying session we only got 5 laps before there was some wreck or something and the session was checkered. but, at least I had a couple of sub 2:00 laps. my best was a 1:58.8. this is a good NINE seconds behind the fast AIX guys but at least I was back in the 1:58’s and felt that I could do a bit better with more track time… when I got back to the garage there was a lot of fluid on the underside of the car. after looking around for a while I realized it was coming out around the power steering reservoir cap. This is an aluminum can that I got from Speedway Motors. I don’t know what the deal is but after having it short time the cap will not close tightly anymore. I took a screwdriver and pried the lip out to make the cap seal tighter. I also wrapped a rag around the cap and duct taped it in place and hoped that would keep any fluid from going everywhere…
Saturday’s race started with some drama in turn 2. A couple of the AIX mustangs touched and there was lot of tire smoke and a white mustang spun off track. the rest of us all checked up and threaded our way through… after that I just got dropped by the pack. not only that but I spent most of the race dealing with faster cars (I checked my laps and out of about 55 cars in the session only about 10 had slower lap times than me)… my best lap in the race was only a 2:00.117. Not only do I need to get a lot faster than 1:58 but I also need to do it every lap…
After the race I went through the scales and Gaetano said I was leaking something. crap… so I pulled back in the garage and as I was backing in I could see a trail of fluid I was dropping. Hopped out and jacked the car up in the front. After a few minutes of poking around I found out that it was the OTHER power steering rack hard line that was leaking… argh! if you’ve read my previous posts you know I had another power steering leak in one of the hard line bypass tubes. I swapped it over to a hydraulic hose assembly. when I did that I had intended to do both of the bypass tubes but I wasn’t able to get 2 sets of the fittings I needed and because I had other things on my list to get ready for the race I decided not to mess with the bypass tube that wasn’t leaking. well, here was my reward. it failed in the same way the other one had. It was 4:30pm and I didn’t have the parts to make another hose. I had thought I was going to get home early Saturday night and hang out with my wife and have dinner. instead I started running around the track looking for AN -6 hose and fittings. went to McGee’s and after a lot of rummaging around they sold me a used piece of hose and used fittings. I’ve made a lot of braided hoses with AN hose ends and this should have taken about 10 minutes now that I had the parts. well, really quickly the whole thing turned south. I had my electric grinder with a cutoff wheel and made a nice cut on the hose. but when I tried to put the AN hose end collar on I couldn’t get it to go. The braid just sprung out every time. then I had to make a new cut and try again. I tried everything, electrical tape, tie wrap, leaving the tape on but nothing I did worked. I grabbed Adam’s bike and pedaled over to the Agent 47 trailer and asked those guys to help me. A couple of the mechanic’s tried for 20 minutes and they couldn’t get it either… I was FRUSTRATED. finally, a couple of hours into this fiasco Adam came back from dinner with new in-the-box Aeroquip hose and new fittings. He left earlier to make a parts run and I asked him to look for the parts. even after I got the stuff from McGees I told him to get it anyway if he could find it. it’s a good thing I did. working with the new hose went fairly smoothly. I was able to get one end on no problem. when I tried to get the other end on we ended up shearing the fitting off while tightening it! luckily I had the used fitting that I got from McGees. I used that and finally I had a completed hose. Got the hose installed, fired up the car for a few minutes. no leak! finally left the track at 8:30pm; completely exhausted but at least thinking I was ready for Sunday.
Sunday the first session wasn’t until 2pm. So I got to the track around noon and just had some lunch, gassed up the car, torq’d the lugnuts, etc… headed out for the qualifying session and on the out lap I saw my oil pressure light come on in a couple of turns… what the?! I went around one more lap and it did it again so I pulled off. not happy but I assumed I was just a little low. it’s not easy for me to check the level (no dipstick). I have to pull a plug on top of the oil pan kick out. it’s burried behind the headers. so, the car has to be up on jack stands and preferably not hot for me to check. oh, and I have to make sure that the accusump is FULL and CLOSED… anyway, I added a 1/2 qt. and hoped that would take car of it… you can probably see where this is going… I started the race and the light came on again?! I went around one more lap to make sure but I kept losing pressure in long turns so I had to pull off. so both of Sunday’s sessions were a total bust… my first DNF. Even though I’m totally uncompetitive I’m still bummed that I didn’t at least finish the race. I’m assuming/hoping/praying that I am just low on oil. Need to check it soon. I can’t imagine what else could cause me to lose oil pressure like that. If there is a problem with the engine I don’t know what I’ll do…
So I loaded up and headed home. oh, when I say home, I mean it. for the first time EVER I brought the car to my house! I’ve had this car at Jeff’s for TEN YEARS. Started building it in his shop in Aug. of 2010 and Sunday was the first time I’ve ever had it in my garage! I’m hoping this helps me spend more time on the car. I, of course, have a fresh and long list of things to get done. First, the things that went well this weekend:
- the USB cables I have wired into the car now worked and I didn’t have any problems with the camera or lap timer running out of juice
- staring both races this weekend means I’ve completed my rookie period and should be getting my full comp. license in the mail soon!
- this weekend I ran 96 octane gas in the car and had NO run-on issues. I had been running 91 oct. and the car would diesel when I shut if off
- the really bad vibration is gone! (it was the driveshaft). there IS still some vibration but it’s a low frequency vibration, isn’t that bad and isn’t holding me back
what I’m going to work on for the next race:
- replace the power steering AN hose I put on at the track (it was a temp fix, need a high pressure line)
- replace the power steering reservoir (I’m going to try a plastic unit from Summit)
- add a power steering cooler (Adam GAVE me a cooler at the track, thanks Adam!)
- check my oil level and see if I can come up with some kind of dip stick
- LOWER the car. (ordered 2″ drop spindles and will try to get the car lower)
- try some aero (I’m going to make front and rear spoiler extensions to try to get a little downforce on the car)
- seal up the front grill area as much as possible (Corey from Agent 47 said all the air getting into the engine bay is acting like a parachute and slowing me down)
- come up with a better rear-end breather setup. the one I made keeps kinking the hose which means it’s NOT allowing any venting when it kinks
here’s a couple of pics and a video of Saturdays race. 37 days until the next race at Buttonwillow!