Most, no, Some of the Checklist Done

  • Install a second fire suppression nozzle pointed at the driver.  (Will need some decabon tubing and a T fitting)
  • Buy and install a window net
  • Drill 3/16″ inspection hole in the cage
  • Find out if our battery box fits their definition of “sealed battery box”
  • Install 2.5″ washers on all seat and belt mount bolts (our current ones are only 2″)
  • Redirect the exhaust, and consider an additional muffler
  • 4″ numbers on the front and rear bumpers
  • buy a better fueling drip pan
  • Better Tow markers
  • Change the oil
  • Check the trans fluid
  • oil the cone filter
  • reserve a tow vehicle
  • reserve a tow dolly
  • buy hankook tires per series rules
  • descuzzify and load up

I installed the plumbing and a new nozzle.  One points at the driver lap and torso (but not the face) and the other at our feet.

Check out the Laguna Seca Exhaust!20191214_135612

Over the last few decades lots of annoying rich jerks have bought property right next to the race track, built their McMansions, and started complaining about the noise.  DUH! you built your house next to a freaking race track!!  So now they have outrageously low noise restrictions.  This race will be 92dB measured at a shack to the right and just up the hill from turn 5.  Our car is pretty quiet.  so I added plumbing to make the exhaust point up and to the left to minimize what the sound shack hears.  I hope it is enough.

Hankook Problems

official-tire-supplier-hankook-news-homepage

So this race series adopted Hankook as their official tire supplier, to get on the podium you have to have tires bought from Hankook motorsports with the series marking on the sidewall, BUT they only guarantee about 8 tire sizes and the rest are only available on special order.  The nice person on the phone told me that our size would take a mimimum of 90 days and probably more like 120 days to arrive once we order.  The race is in about 60.  Lucky they are giving an exemption for the first race of the season in each region, which includes this race.  So I guess we will be using our Falkens.

Hankook The Officially Unavailable Tire of Lucky Dog Racing League

It’s a super dumb rule.  They didn’t open registration for the race until 65 days before the race, and it sold out in less than 1 minute.  So was I supposed to spend $500 on tires two or three months ago on the small chance that I would actually get accepted into this race?  See that money tree in my backyard?  No?  Oh that’s right, I don’t even have a backyard.

It’s too bad, I thought it was going to look really cool to have the big white lettering on the sidewalls.

So Much Going on (Tow Van Stolen!)

So many other things going on.  I got a chance to stop by the car last weekend.  I have enough decabon tubing, the T fitting, and a nozzle.  I measured the window for the net, counted how many washers I’ll need, measured the exhaust pipe diameter, and checked the oil (definitely needs to be changed).

Tedd told me that the race van, the E250 that he and his brother share, was stolen from in front of his brother’s house.  We have no tow vehicle now.  So our Uhaul rental costs just doubled, at least.

This week Ewan is in a school 1 act play called Bottom’s Dream, it is an adaptation of a subplot from a Midsummer Night’s Dream.  Ewan is playing Puck.  I was Lysander in a Midsummer Night’s Dream when I was in 8th grade.

We got tickets to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child performed at the Curran Theater in SF on November 27 and 29.  We also got tickets to see Hamilton on Dec 6 at the Orpheum.  Both should be amazing. It’s going to be a theater intensive season.

But it’ll reduce my time to work on the car.

To Do

The rules for this race series are largely similar but different in several ways.  so now I have a to do list.

  • Install a second fire suppression nozzle pointed at the driver.  (Will need some decabon tubing and a T fitting)
  • Buy and install a window net
  • Drill 3/16″ inspection hole in the cage
  • Find out if our battery box fits their definition of “sealed battery box”
  • Install 2.5″ washers on all seat and belt mount bolts (our current ones are only 2″)
  • Redirect the exhaust, and consider an additional muffler
  • 4″ numbers on the front and rear bumpers
  • buy a better fueling drip pan
  • Better Tow markers
  • Change the oil
  • Check the trans fluid
  • oil the cone filter
  • rent a tow dolly
  • buy hankook tires per series rules
  • descuzzify and load up

 

Laguna Seca!

I’m way behind on news, so I am going to cheat and post my news and back date it so it looks like I posted it all when it was relevant. I’m not a journalist.

Lemons does not race at Laguna Seca.  I’ve always wanted to race there.  Lucky Dog Racing, a budget endurance race series similar to Lemons but a bit more upscale, does race there.  Last year I tried to sign up for one of their races and I didn’t click fast enough.  This year I did.  The signup window opened at 12 on November 1.  I misread and thought it was midnight, so at 11:59pm on Halloween I was furiously clicking refresh and getting no results.  At about 12:05 I figured out that the sign up started in 12 hours at noon.  So at 11:59am there I was at work clicking refresh over and over.  I had gone through the sign up process for another race on their website, about three times (stopping before paying) so that every click I had to make was rehearsed.  At noon the LS race appeared on the list and I stomped on the gas.  I made it.  We are in.  Now we have lots to do to adapt our car to the slightly different rules.

Slow Work on the Volvo

We’ve changed the brake lines, flushed the brake fluid with DOT4, changed the trans fluid, changed the oil and filter, and fixed the horn.  We are waiting on backordered bushings before we touch any of the suspension.  We really need to do something about the intermittent dash.20190901_133316_hdr

Ewan is loving driving it.

The Clarity is great.  It’s such a relaxing pleasure to drive.  My current cumulative gas mileage is now about 84mpg.  About 90% of my charging has been solar.

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Back together

Over the course of many weeks we got the clutch in. It’s a big job. We don’t have a hoist so this is a rough sketch of what it takes.

Disassemble the right side suspension and get the axle out. Remove the frame member underneath that connects the front and back cross members. Disassemble the left side suspension enough to get the axle out. Remove the half-shaft. Remove the intake to but not including the throttle body. Disconnect all of the wires and linkages that connect to the trans including all of the things that are anchored to things that are attached to the trans. Take out the starter motor. disconnect the upper radiator hose. Disconnect the trans mount, support the motor/trans with a jack.
Now you can start taking off the bolts in the bell housing, and the support brackets including the bracket from the rear trans mount. Wrap something around the clutch slave cylinder to keep the piston from pushing out. Once you get the trans disconnected pull it out so you get the shaft out and try to lower it out the bottom. OH DAMN!! look the clutch line is connected to the top of the trans!! undo that bracket quick!! The trans does does not fit out of the bottom easily. You have to work it around and back and forth and eventually get it on the ground. Remove the pressure plate, remove the totally destroyed clutch, the flywheel looks pretty good resurfacing is for race teams with money. THEN in the immortal words of Mr. Chilton, “Installation is the reverse of removal.”
You’ll also find that the trans fluid comes out so that’ll need replacing.

Last weekend we got it 95% back in and yesterday my son and I got the trans fluid in and the wheels on and drove it out of the way so we could start working on his first car which is a 1991 Volvo 240 Wagon 5-speed. We managed to get the front brake lines replaced and the brakes bled.

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It seems I took no photos of the whole process.  Who wants to pick up their nice phone with hands covered in axle grease?

In other news, someone rear-ended my Acura TL in may-ish.  I got about $900 to fix it.  Hadn’t decided whether to fix it yet when I rear ended someone else.  The insurance called it a total and gave me a fair price for it.  It got hauled off and we went and bought a Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid Touring.  With all the various discounts and incentives we got if for the price of a Civic SI.  It is the quietest and most lux car I’ve ever had.  Since I bought it I’ve got 1,333 miles on it and I’ve burned about 19.2 gallons of gas.  I’ve paid about $4 for all of the electric charging so far.  Most of my charging has been totally solar.  69.4 miles per gallon.

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Why Our Car Wouldn’t Go

The clutch went boom!

 

BTW, we ended up in 76th.  I got to Tedd’s about 12:30 today and was done at 4.  So it took me, with a fair bit of help from Tedd, 3.5 hours to remove the clutch.  At the track with 4 of us crowding in we might have done that in 2.5 hours.  Add 2 more hours to put in a new clutch (assuming we could have bought one at the car parts store in town, which is possible) we could have possibly gotten it back together for maybe 1 lap.  If we could have shaved 20 minutes off of that we might have had enough time to have finished in 75th.  I’m glad we went home.  This way we don’t end up with an autozone special as our clutch.