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Did I mention I race rally cars? Red Rocket Rally

Charger - Flash - Rally

Friday, July 30, 2010
My Rally Car Burned Down
by brian @ 22:49:13 - [perma-link]

I forgot to post these here. My rally car burned down during the Idaho Rally this year. Pat and I both got out of the car when we smelled smoke. No one was hurt. The car was a total loss.

Thursday, July 29, 2010
Giant Dragonfly in Idaho
by brian @ 10:07:11 - [perma-link]

This dragonfly was hanging out while I tunes my rally car.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010
I pulled the motor out of the rally car today
by brian @ 17:47:21 - [perma-link]

On saturday while I was out tuning the rally car, it mysteriously lost a couple of quarts of oil and damaged.... something... in the motor. I limped it home (bad idea. should have called AAA when it died and wouldn't start again) and checked it out on Monday. Something is definitely broken.

Yesterday Dan and I towed it from my house down to the shop, and I made some room to work and disconnected all of the wiring, drained the oil and coolant, and had it mostly ready to come out. Today I took out the axles, radiator, header, and a few other things, and pulled the motor with the cherry picker.

The front end of the car was pretty high up on jack stands. I lowered the engine and transmission onto the legs of the cherry picker and a wheel dolly, then disconnected the chain so I could drag it out from under the car. It was just a bit too tall, so I let all the air out of the rear tires to pick up the front just a bit more and pulled it clear. After that I separated the transmission from the engine, and called it a day.

Tomorrow we start disassembling it to see what went wrong.

Monday, June 7, 2010
Running too rich, right?
by brian @ 10:21:24 - [perma-link]

I'm changing spark plugs on the rally car today. Wait, let me back
up. I'm Grasping at straws on the rally car today. Over the weekend
I went for a drive. It was all good for a while, then the car suddenly
died at a stop sign and wouldn't start again.

I ended up pushing it across the intersection to a downhill and roll-
started it and kept revving th engine to keep it from dying on the way

As I got closer to home, the engine was running hotter than it had
been (about 205 instead of 190ish). That was possibly due to mostly
coasting in neutral while revving he motor behind morons driving 10mph
UNDER the speed limit.

Yesterday it wouldn't start. No idea why. So starting with the basics.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010
New Radiator
by brian @ 13:45:53 - [perma-link]

A few weeks ago I found a Geo Prism with a 2-row radiator. That
radiator also fits an FX-16 (mostly) and gives way more cooling
capacity. I ordered one online and just installed it. I had to trim
the fan shroud a bit to fit over the motor mount, but after that it
went right in.

Idling in the shop, the car would get up to about 194 degrees, at
which point the fan kicks on and it drops back under 190. With the
old radiator (in th last picture. Notice that it has a thinner, 1-row
core) it was holding at a bit over 200 and wouldn't come down on it's
own. It's much better now, and should handle Idaho's hot weather
without a hitch.

I also changed the catalytic converter. The old one (installed just
before Olympus to meet the new rally requirement) took a beating at
Oregon Trail Rally. The element inside was broken into pieces and
clogged up, severely restricting the motor. It's all good now, but I
want to get another spun steel cat so it can handle more abuse.

The car is all set for rallycross on Sunday.

Thursday, March 11, 2010
Post-race inspection
by brian @ 17:20:52 - [perma-link]

I put the rally car up on stands yesterday and did a quick check around the corners. Fluids look good. Brakes are bled (possibly a problem on the front right still. I'll bleed again after I drive it a bit). Suspension is still attached. Steering is OK; the right-side inner tie rod end needs to be replaced.

I mostly washed off the front of the motor to check out a possible oil leak. Its a difficult area to access, so I removed the skid plate, inner fender guards, and the power steering idler pully & bracket and wiped clean as much as I could reach. At Doo Wops we noticed a spot under the oil pressure sender hole that had some fresh-looking drops of oil, but the block was so dirty (probably from the big leak in Idaho) that I couldn't see the source. I'll drive it around some and check for leaks before I do an oil change.

Two of the "good" wheels still look good. One of them had a ding in the rim before Doo Wops and should probably be retired (though it held air fine all through the weekend). The 4th one looks just a little bit ovally, so I'll dump it, too. All of the tires still look decent, but I'll need more for Olympus.

The front edge of the plastic underbody protection needs some help. It hangs down a little in the middle, and the front edge caught a bunch of rocks chewing it up pretty good. On the old car, the front edge was turned up so it would slide over things. This one used to have another piece that connected the plastic with the aluminum skidplate and made a smoother sliding surface. I need to either put that piece back or figure out another support for the front edge. Or both.

The shop needs shelves.

Saturday, February 27, 2010
Hotbits Mounted on the Rally Car
by brian @ 22:31:30 - [perma-link]

I got a late start today, but just finished mounting the rebuilt suspension on the rally car, and checking all the bolts. I also hooked up the new braided stainless brake lines on all 4 corners. Tomorrow I'll get brake fluid and bleed the brakes.

Friday, February 26, 2010
Hotbits ready to rally
by brian @ 21:34:15 - [perma-link]

I got my suspension back from Feal Suspension, where I had sent them to get serviced. They revalved them to be a little stiffer for the bigger springs, and fixed a busted adjuster rod. The adjuster rings on one of the rears (with the yellow springs) were seized up, but I spent a while with the strut mounted in a vise (by the single tab) I was able to get it all the way down.

Tomorrow I'll check each corner of the car as I install the struts. Once these are on, I'll bleed the brakes, and throw on a set of wheels. I'm hoping to at least drive it up to the car wash to rinse off any remaining dirt, then get it set up in the new shop for final preparation before Doo Wops.

Monday, August 24, 2009
Autocross in Packwood, WA
by brian @ 11:16:06 - [perma-link]

Rebecca and I drove up to Packwood, WA yesterday morning to autocross
my M3. We wanted to practice racing the car before Smackdown in
September. It was awesome fun! That car has so much power, and the
pavement has plenty of grip to lay it down. Someone in line behind us
asked me if I though it was "kind of dusty out there". I'm used to
racing on mud and dirt, so it seemed pretty grippy to me. I think I
put on a pretty good display of TMT-NET (Too Much Throttle, Not Enough
Talent). Smackdown is going to be a blast!

Autocross is pretty much like rally cross, except its in a parking lot
instead of a field, there's no water truck and instead of half a dozen
car classes, there's like 15 million. The M3 turns out to be "A-
Stock". Since we're using street tires, someone told us we should run
in the "street tire class" (TAS instead of AS), since its a factored
class (whatever that means ;), and we wouldn't be competing against R-
compound tires. In reality it means we got spanked by a bunch of Mini
Coopers and Miatas, instead of being handily crushed by a Corvette.

After we raced in the first group, we shagged cones for the second.
There was a really bad-ass GT-R in that group (and another stock GT-R
running in the afternoon, but we didn't stick around for that), which
looked like it had a little bit more power than the planet could
handle. It wasn't driving on the course; it was pouncing on each apex
like some crazed beast, turning and leaping out with a roar, searching
for its next victim. Once the driver learns to tame that power, it
will be seriously fast.

Others of interest: a yellow Porsche GT3 that looked smooth, even when
it seemed to be picking up one of its front wheels along the back
slalom. A blue Z06 Corvette, which was dual-driven in our session by
a father and son team, then in the 2nd session by the son's wife (who
was pretty close to matching his times). The red mustang was
accellerating hard out of the big turn on the back, and mad some huge
clouds of smoke from the inside rear wheel on almost every lap. And
someone had recently acquired an old cop car, and put "RAM ROD" (ala
Super Troopers) on the back in blue tape. Nice! Watching that boat
barely make it (but it did make it!) around every turn on asphalt is
almost as tense and exciting as watching Kyle rallycross his.

Thursday, July 2, 2009
The "New" Bumper is on!
by brian @ 13:02:29 - [perma-link]

We've been using the old rally car's bumper up until now. Today I
finished customizing the padding inside the "new" bumper to fit around
the tow hooks and installed it on the car. Its not much prettier than
the old one, but the two hooks will be a little more convenient than
the single, and the paint (where it isn't cracked ;) matches the car
(like a GT-S bumper should). All it needs now is holes.

Still to do:
- drill the holes
- mud-flap on the front right (and probably check the rears to make
sure they don't fall off before tech)
- maybe some tuning
- take spare axles for a rebuild (doing that today)
- mount the in-car camera
- mount the Cool Shirt cooler and controls

Is that really all?


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