We fucked around and won our class
Then fucked around some more and won Halloween meets gasoline for theming ourselves with the car
Good weekend I guess
update to my last topic found here: I need a bigger truck
I reached out to my FIL to see if he wanted to lend me his F250 out of the kindness of his heart so that I could put 1600 miles on the odometer and keep it for a total of about 2 weeks. After some questioning as to why I was asking for this he agreed but I didn't feel particularly comfortable with the arrangement. Something about borrowing a brand new vehicle for a long duration doesn't sit right with me.
So I nixed that plan, talked to the teammate who was still planning to go and we decided to throw down a last ditch effort: Ask a stranger.
In general I dislike facebook but the Lemons communities there are quite good so I threw out the hail mary: If you can tow us from Raleigh to Birmingham you can drive the car.
I expected a bit of interest but what I ended up with was a bit overwhelming. First guy offered to pick us up on his way from NJ...he wasn't planning to drive the truck and trailer but had one he could bring, and would have room to pack extra stuff as well! A might fine offer. Next guy is one that I met at our first race, he just bought a full-ass RV and could pull our trailer, also picking us up on the way, also from NJ. If we could camp out with him this might have been a decent arrangement, but we are a bit out if his way already. A few more people inquired on exactly where we are and what plans we have, but then I got another message....
This is a guy I don't know but he lives about 10 minutes from me. He has a truck but no trailer (we have a trailer so that's okay), he wasn't planning to go as the team he has driven with in the past stuffed it in the wall at Road Atlanta in December, but he's interested in getting a seat anyway. This is sounding like the best plan, he's local and we can meet first. But then another guy pops in, he's only 5 minutes from me and races with yet another team, and this guy I know! His team had bail leaving him without a drive as well, he has a tow rig and trailer we can use. And both of these guys know each other!
Somehow in our little 3-ish mile radius there are 4 lemons drivers, 2 cars, and we drive for 3 different teams. Unreal.
I talked to both on the phone yesterday and there was no tangible way to decide between them. So we asked them both to join.
Looks like I better get this car ready, it now needs to support 4 drivers
In case anyone has missed the back story
With less than 2 weeks until the inaugural 24 Hours of Lemons race for Eddie, our 1993 Eagle Summit Wagon, the car is ready. Technically there are still a couple very minor things to button up but now it's game on. Entrance fees are paid, the car is caged, fire protected, and runs. I took it for a test drive Friday night and it's the most completely ridiculous thing I've ever driven.
But most importantly I can finally reveal the theme.
For the 2021 Southern Discomfort race at NCM motorsports park, team It'll Be Fine will drive the #'84 Eddie Van Hailin' car
I'm sure you will all be tired of me posting about this soon but I'm still coming down off a high I've waited 20 years to experience. If someone, anyone, is not initiated here's the full back story on Eddie, the build, and our first race
Warning: Long-ass post ahead.
In the end, how did it do?
Last Thrusday we drove about 10.5 hours to Bowling Green, KY to race at the National Corvette Museum track. All of us had been on track before but never like this, and none of us had ever raced wheel to wheel or even driven this car hard. It was a learning experience and hoo boy was there a lot to take in. On Friday we set up camp, hung out, met some teams, saw some cars, passed all our tech checks, and drank some beers
Day 1 started with a nice little rain shower an hour before the start. A wet track with 80 other cars is a fun place to learn to drive hard so we sent out out most aggressive driver and the visionary for the car so if he wrecked it he could only be upset at himself.
Did he wreck it? No. Did he blow up the freshly build engine? Also no! Not yet anyway.
He ran about 30 minutes then came in to swap drivers. Typically teams will run longer stints but this being our first time we wanted to get everyone out for a run so we ran short to start and swapped often. Second driver also did not wreck or blow it up, then it was my turn
There's no experience quite like running full throttle onto a hot race track with maybe 130hp at your disposal watching a line of much faster cars barreling to your inside. I let them pass, made my first turn, and officially declared that I am a Race Car Driver now.
I ran for about 30 minutes as well, the track was drying out a bit as the rain had stopped a while ago. Unfortunately learning how the car drives was a tertiary concern for me, first order of business was knowing where the other cars were at all times, second was learning to look at the corner workers to know what, if anything, was ahead or if they thought I screwed up badly enough to be punished. This is a lot to try to take in all at once when it's your first time out.
The rest of the day from there went pretty smooth. At some point the car developed a power cut issue on hard right hand turns and a stumble on full throttle in the straights, we spent some time in the pits trying to diagnose but in the end there was nothing to be done at the time so I hopped in for the last hour and a half and went full send.
As I mentioned in the day 2 live oppo Sunday started out a bit rough.
We thought the power issue might be a problem with the TPS and ordered a new one that we could pick up at 8:30, the time cars were getting on the grid. To prep for the swap we got everything else ready and went to fill the tank but on starting the car noticed all of the exhaust noise seemed to be coming from the engine bay, not the back. The culprit?
Blew out the flex pipe. Since we had a crew member at the parts store anyway we got a length of pipe, cut the flex out, welded a solid piece in, replaced the TPS, and were on our way about an hour late.
The good news was our full throttle stumble was gone thanks to the TPS. The bad news was that all day we were getting the hard cut on right hand turns. Not all rights but specific ones the problem was highly repeatable. We also had a heavy exhaust popping off throttle which I believe is related but we need to investigate more.
With the TPS working to give us full power down the fast sections each of us turned faster and faster laps as the day wore on.
Then it finally happened. At about 3:40 on Sunday, with 20 minutes to go until the checkered flag, Eddie's heart stopped beating. Our fearless leader was taking the last drive of the trip, attempting to run our fastest lap of the race, and the engine made a loud bang and died. I saw it happen as I was spotting from the roof, he came hot into a fast section then just coasted and I knew it was all over.
We don't know what happened yet, we only got home last night and haven't torn into anything, but I believe whatever caused the power cut finally stressed the engine enough to roast the top end. The block is still one piece and can hopefully be salvaged, we will know more in the coming weeks.
The end tally, we drove 164 laps with a fastest lap of 2:58:664 according to the transponder recordings. That lap was, amazingly, mine. I am easily the worst driver of our team but with some coaching, a bit of luck, and one perfectly put together lap I managed to run our fastest of the entire event. In what is either celebratory or heartbreaking news, our second fastest lap of the race was 2:58:757 on lap 164. Right before it blew it was still going as hard as it could.
After the race we pushed the car onto the trailer and headed to the awards ceremony where we were given the organizer's choice award for having a great car, a great bribe, driving well (no black flags), and turning lap after lap. This is a pretty high award in Lemons world and it was great to know that others appreciated the work we put in.
This is one of the most fun things I have ever done, and we will be back as soon as we can.
This morning marks my first day in over ten years that I did not wake up with the ability to drive a Mazdaspeed3 to my intended destination.
I got my first MS3, a black 2007 with a rebuilt title (in great mechanical condition) in late 2011. Despite a lifelong love of cars this is the one that launched me into the world of automotive modification and really getting down to a full understanding of how everything in a car actually works and how to modify. This car went through 2 suspension setups, 3 sets of wheels, got a bigger turbo and upgraded airflow all around. I learned to tune this car and without it I would not have the friends I have, I would never have gone to the tail of the dragon, and I would not have ever raced in Lemons. All of that is quite literal. I learned to really drive in this car and took it to the track a few times. Ultimately the engine started to go at 115k miles, 75k of those with me behind the wheel.
After that I needed another car. I mean, I had another car but an '05 TJ with 33s made for a terrible daily driver. I looked at a few options I liked at the time but ended up with another MS3, this time a 2010 in celestial blue mica (the definitively best color ever sprayed on a Mazda). I would not have lost any friends by getting something different but what I needed was reliable transportation in a car I enjoyed and I was not done enjoying Mazdaspeeds.
This car I largely left alone. It got a couple parts from my '07 and eventually a set of springs and Koni yellow shocks, but for the most part I just drove it every day without issue. This one never saw a track but took thousands of curves at the tail. It had been with me for just a week less than my now wife.
And now it's gone.
I have slightly mixed feelings about selling this particular car but in the end I just wasn't driving it enough to justify keeping it. Keeping it meant dedicating myself to getting it cosmetically in better shape and that's not the avenue I wanted to go down.
I loved this car. I loved the first one too.
For now I will daily the Jeep, as I have essentially been doing for months anyway. When the market cools I may look at a fun car that has no intentions of being driven every day, but that feels like it may be a year or more and for now I'm just....content. I have what I want to drive for a while and hopefully the blue car (as I so lovingly called it) is in the hands of someone who plans to care for it.
Today is not a sad day
This year my only resolution is to drive my old truck, creatively and appropriately named Project Redtruck. For anyone uninitiated, this is a '56 F100 that my grandfather bought some number of years ago that never actually worked for him and after a few years of frustration he gave it to me. For over 2 years I have been in the process of fixing pretty much everything that isn't structural on it.
I had been lax in working toward my resolution this year but after my grandpa suffered a pretty serious accident earlier this year I decided to jump back on it - if he is ever able to come back to this side of the country I fully intend to have this truck on the road by then. My last post on the subject was finally getting the truck to run with the turn of a key after nearly a decade of that not working; today is one of those times where it is finally starting to look like a whole vehicle again, and it starts with the dash.
When I got the truck the dash looked like this
The cluster was basically original, possibly a repop bezel but otherwise nothing out of the ordinary for a '56. The gauges below, however, just make blood boil. Clearly the gauges in the dash didn't work or whoever did the pseudo-resto previously could not figure it out, but his solution as just so god damn sloppy. At the very least he could have made the holes line up?? No, apparently not. Lets take a closer look....
Yeah, that's no good. Not shown is the radio slot that's also a bit of a mess.
But no matter, I'm going to fix it. Eventually....
First step is acknowledging you have a problem and realizing you have to fix it. For this I ordered 6 new gauges - Tach, MPH, volts, oil, water, and fuel should cover it. In an effort to modernize I went with all electric gauges, no point in running hot fluids into the cab. The specific gauges are Equus 8000 series, they look somewhere between modern and retro and don't cost a fortune. Gauges are funny like that, they're either cheap and questionable or WAAAYYY too expensive for a project like this. I went cheaper, we'll see how that works out.
Gauges purchased and I have to start modifying. I gutted the cluster and trimmed the bezel to fit a pair of 3 3/8" gauges
I then used my powers of CAD and my little CNC machine to cut a test piece for fit inside the bezel
That fit pretty well so I made a couple adjustments, added some features, and made my final part
Then did some assembly
That'll do nicely
Next I needed to fix that irritating array of holes in the lower dash.. Some of them were original holes for fun knobs and switches but mostly it was a hack job. My plan, unfortunately, was to make it a bigger hack job then hide the evidence. But that hide job would be EXCELLENT!
So again we go back to CAD and the CNC. I designed up my parts and did another test cut, then mocked it in place.
Then a test fit of all the bits and bobs that it needs to house
Again, I made a couple modifications but nothing that anyone but me would notice, and cut up some metal
And ran another test fit, just to be sure
Next I had to locate it in the truck to mark where to drill and cut
Then I drilled the 10 holes to hold it in place and make sure it would be self supporting
And then.....it got worse before it got better
Yikes. An air knife made quick work of the dash but the carnage is....well, it's carnage. Not my favorite thing I've ever done but the result is better than I hoped for when I started.
Not all the hardware is in at that point, and I promise the cluster is not crooked it just looks that way. If I may toot my own horn on this one it's a pretty stunning outcome especially when you consider where it started.
I spent the past couple days doing a bunch of wiring behind it all and sorting out the harness that's left in the truck. I plan to have that put mostly together this week.
Rarely when motivation hits me this hard do the results look so good
Day 1 of lemons in the books and it was about as good as we could have hoped. The team ran 75 laps which is good enough for 64th place.. part of that is purposeful short stints to get each driver on track, and since we're changing seats for one driver that takes time.
Didn't blow it up, didn't wreck, no black flags. We were spaying power steering fluid from the reservoir so disconnected that for the afternoon which made tight turns Hella fun. Found the reservoir was way over full so pulled some fluid out and reconnected the belt after the race, will see how that pans out tomorrow.
We do have a power cut on hard right turns and getting hard on the throttle, found the throttle position sesor has a dead spot and should have a new one in the morning just in time to run. We do have a spare but it's in a garage 11 hours away.
Tires are wearing well so the second set will remain unused until something unfortunate happens tomorrow. Brakes are ferocious
Everyone there loves the car, and we made the front page of lemons facebook
Tomorrow being Valentine's day and me being married I feel obligated to give a peace and love offering of some kind to my wife. Easy fallbacks are flowers, candy, and jewelry which are all, in my wife's opinion, wonderful but I like to do things a bit differently. And I like to make things.
This year instead of spending money on stuff to give her I spent money to cause myself a lot of work so that in the end I could have something to give her.. Apparently I took the children's lesson of "making gifts instead of buying them" to heart and now here we are.
I bought a small pile of wood and borrowed a table saw (I will have my own in due time...probably next week) and got to work.
Made some cuts, used some glue and clamps. Test fit some things then used a lot more glue and clamps. And cuts. So many cuts.
Then I made even more cuts and more glue and more clamps and forgot to document any of that so you really have to take my word for it.
Then I rubbed the whole thing with oil and spent about 4 hours figuring out how not to work with felt (note: I am not good with fabrics). But in the end it turned out pretty good.
Instead of jewelry I made her a box for the stuff she already has. CLASSY.
@Shop-Teacher how'd I do?
@ash78 We have lots of trees around here, including in this particular parking lot. What I don't like about tress is they tend to grow rather large and make seeing traffic around them difficult. And if they grow out more than up and are not trimmed regularly they will cause cars to drive away from the curb and block the whole lane.
Trees are great, sure, but in this scenario just removing the rock would have helped. Or just don't drive over the rocks, I've found that to work as well.
@FourMalibus I have to think that there's a point, if I were driving, where I would feel the curb, then another curb, then the vehicle would be tilted in a highly unexpected way, and I would stop and think "hmm....something isn't right here"
But some people keep going and think it will all sort itself out. Maybe it's a testament to my driving abilities that I have never done this, and most people haven't, but more than 0 do and that worries me.
@pickup_man Friend did this in his detached garage with 1/2" or 5/8" plywood. It's functional and looks fine in that setting (personal preference) but even I, as someone who likes a wood aesthetic, do not want this in my house. Especially not OSB, that's not a visually appealing material not matter how you put it.
Maybe a custom feature wall using wenge, walnut, sapele, and maple could pull it off? That sounds hella expensive though
I would love to join but no way can I drive to Detroit just for a party for some guy I have (unfortunately) never met.
Any idea where he's going? I'm less than an hour from Torch, hoping he comes out this way
@functionoverfashion I always wonder about the braking aspect. In terms of towing capacity flat towing is great because there is no tongue weight to unbalance the tow vehicle or towed vehicle but trailer brakes are required over a certain limit which is somewhere below the curb weight of an envoy so...yeah, idk.