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asphalt_gundam
asphalt_gundam Reader
8/26/21 7:51 a.m.

Heartland Motorsports Park with GridLife

Got to make fun of myself in this one. Heartland Motorsports Park was a blast and I enjoyed the challenge of the technical layout and working/driving through the setup problems. Car is ripped apart to fix what I can before GridLife Midwest Fest and put on some new/older tires to get me though the rest of the season.

 

asphalt_gundam
asphalt_gundam Reader
8/26/21 8:23 a.m.

Setup problems that I needed to work through at Heartland Motorsports Park were mostly related to understeer. Some of it admittedly was me driving too hot into the corner and/or asking too much of the car. I tried resetting everything to Autobahn spec where the car did well but was rewarded with a near undriveable tail happy car...slower by 3 seconds. Later I realized that the shocks were still stiffer than where I ended up at Autobahn. I finally had a driveable car after softening the front shocks, stiffening the rear shocks, and removing the rear swaybar again. At this point I could get around the track ok but the bump entering 'fast 8' was still a problem. Upon getting the car home and up on stands there is evidence of some heavy bump stop contact in the front and oh so very close to bottoming out the shocks in the rear.

Plan as of right now is fabricating some new lower control arms for the front with the goal of less weight and a little more ride height, change the shock bracket location in the rear, modify a 20gal fuel cell into a 10ish gallon that fits in the trunk and has plenty of slosh control (I think I still have some fuel supply problems) and ditch the stock tank. Another racer hooked me up with 6 brand new (2018) Nankang NS-2R tires for cheap so I can make the rest of the season after delaminating another one of the Falkens (they're used up anyway). The Nankangs are 200tw labeled and 285/35/18 so I can stay in Street Mod. Looking forward to the taller sidewall and how it may play into handling and setup. Should look much better too as the 30 sidewalls on it now are just little when you look at them. They are aso more of an endurance tire and apparently like heat....so that should work for me as I have been overheating the Falkens in 3 laps so far. 

Got the car on a scale at Heartland too. 3839lbs with me (210-215) and 2/3 tank of fuel

Additional possible/want to changes before GridLife Midwest Festival are Raise ride height (might need it with the taller tires), move battery back to the front (to make room for the fuel cell and eliminate the weight of the cables), fabricate a rear diffuser (easier with the stock tank gone), fabricate some front canards (up to 4 allowed in class), and install the fiberglass hood off the other car. Note: the hood however is a 4-1/2" cowl induction....I don't know if my view will be hampered too much to be of benefit...however between the fiberglass, removal of the springs, hinge, and latch it would be around a 50lbs weight savings. Would also fabricate an air pan to seal the air cleaner into the cowl area for cooler intake air temps and could add a carb spacer for some much needed plenum volume. Typically I've seen 10hp from a 1" spacer.

Budget is tight right now so I'm doing what I can with what I have. Fixing a power steering seal leak today and already stole the center link/drag link off the other car because I found slop in the one on the car.

asphalt_gundam
asphalt_gundam Reader
9/2/21 12:42 p.m.

Post Heartland inspection had me replacing seals in the steering box and the center link which had a sloppy joint. Which I pulled from the 82 because the late summer money crunch has arrived. No small part of which was ordering a spare set of wheels (12-16 weeks....) and the new engine's custom pistons coming in at $500+ more than expected cost...covid pricing/inflation has hit the aftermarket hard!

Had a great deal on new 2018 date Nankang NS2R tires come my way. I don't expect them to be as fast as the falkens but at least I'll get through the rest of the season and have two spares. The 285/35/18 sizing fills the wheel wells much better too. The 200tw stamp keeps me in Street Mod as well.

Thoughts put to getting this car down on weight had me un-relocate the battery. Removed the switch, cables, clamps for 8lbs savings. A light weight battery is the plan eventually and will shave a significant amount more.

Also discovered a stress crack in the floor near the one seat mount that was contributing to seat movement. Drilled a hole through the mount and 3 layers of floor then sandwiched with a large washer for a noticable improvement.

asphalt_gundam
asphalt_gundam Reader
9/2/21 1:40 p.m.

After wanting to get into this for about two years now I started fabricating lower control arms. Good thing too as the rear bushing is blown out on the driver's side. Attempting to be finished in time for GridLife Midwest Fest next week and if I'm lucky parts will show up tomorrow.

These will be over built as I'm using 1.5" x .125 DOM when most aftermarket lower arms are 1.25"x.120 DOM. I've raised the spring pocket and dropped the ball joint in order to raise the ride height some. Test fitting showed no problems I could see so I sorted out where the bump stop and revised sway bar mount should go. Also checked over the weighted/ride height position to sort out shock travel requirements.

That's one side completed and 3 days after work of labor time (about 16hrs). Hopefully the other side will be faster. 

In conjunction with these I'll modify the swaybar into an adjustable unit and heim end links. I'm taking extra care to ensure that bump stops and if needed a limit strap will keep the shocks from being damaged. 

What should happen with these is: increase ride height, raise and shorten the instant center (thus less body roll), give more room for compression travel (car has been responding well to softer settings until hitting bump stops that is), change the camber curve (how much I'm unsure), and bump steer will be affected but won't know until getting it all set up.

Despite being overbuilt it's noticably lighter than the boxed stock arm. The addition of swaybar adjustment and heim end links will be a good tuning option. 

asphalt_gundam
asphalt_gundam Reader
9/7/21 1:17 p.m.

Big progress over the weekend.

A arms finished up and then started on the swaybar mods. But while taking it apart I was reminded of how much BS it is with stripped out chassis threads for the bar and front brace. So I fabricated some stiffener plates that are threaded and have nuts welded to the back side too. Used a step drill to oversize the holes until they cleared the nut/weld then welded the plates on. Huge improvement!

With ease of install/removal changed for the better it was back to the swaybar mods. I cut the ends off and slotted what was left to install a drilled plate that makes the swaybar adjustable.

Once everything was back on the car it took a few hours work to get the end links sorted as well as steering stops and making sure I had no binding. Needed to change up the bumpstops too.

Final ride height moved up more than anticipated but is now leveled with the rear so I'm ok with it. Reset the alignment and it was the easiest, most repeatable one yet.... funny how that works when all the parts are rigid where they're supposed to be and not worn.

New alignment is 7 degrees caster, -2 degrees camber and 1/16 toe out. This is less caster and less camber than before as the increase in ride height reduces camber gain and more importantly moves the roll center and should result in less roll. Which seems to be the case in a short test drive. The swaybar end links are set in the center holes which should be a bit stiffer than originally too. 

The a arms ended up being 7.2 lbs lighter each than the boxed stock arms. I pulled some plastics and other stuff from the front (which should offset the added metal for the stiffeners/nuts). For around an estimate of 25lbs weight reduction overall since Heartland.

I've run out of time to swap to the fiberglass hood off the other car, and fab a rear diffuser (about half done). Loaded up and ready for GridLife Midwest Fest now. Going to have to feel out the new tires and suspension once I get there. Looks like 3 sessions Thursday evening so I should be able to get a feel for the car and make changes as needed Friday morning if not between sessions Thursday.

asphalt_gundam
asphalt_gundam Reader
9/7/21 1:39 p.m.

Checked the what kind of Ackerman there was too. Has 1/16th (as measured on the Quick Trick) at a quarter turn of the wheel (typical road course input).  That's about a tenth of a degree (.115). No idea if that good, bad, or otherwise but a least its in the right direction.

asphalt_gundam
asphalt_gundam Reader
9/13/21 3:46 p.m.

GridLife Midwest Fest

From talking with a few other racers Thursday was the better track conditions of the weekend. Right off the trailer I was knocking out laps in the 1:48s with a first session best of 1:47.5xx which was only .3 slow of my best lap back in June. Second session I ran 1:47.23 which beat my previous best by .01 on a lap that I through away time in turn 10 on.

Happy to be fast right off the trailer I began going over tire pressure & temps to sort out what the nankang tire were telling me they wanted. I felt like I had to tip-toe with the car at first which was probably just an overload of paying attention to everything I could about how it was driving. By 3rd session I had settled in and was estatic to be running FULL sessions with very little fall off in lap time. 

For Friday morning I reduced the camber and went back out. The grip just wasn't there but ran a few 1:47s and 1:48s. Second session got a pressure adjustment, spark plugs swap and tune adjustment as I had a couple laps with a misfire on the back stretch. Dropped down to a 1:46.96 and was one of the few to improve their time. No faster third session.

Before first session Saturday I added some splitter angle and rear wing to stabilize the car. After only running a high 1:48 I felt there just wasn't going to be room to improve. Though easier to drive the grip wasn't there to go faster. Plus I was over driving the car again and starting to get lock up in places I wasn't the previous days. Before second session I nut and bolted the car and took out some more camber. Got back into the 1:47s but no better.

Had a few hours break and went into town with some friends. After some track delays it was near dusk before my last session started gridding up. Was told it would be 2 hot laps, that's it. I wasn't expecting to go any faster and figured at worst there would be some good photos with the setting sun. I had dropped 1 click out of compression and rebound all the way around mostly just to try something. First hot lap going into 6 I see the lead car go off and slow up #2. I stay in it as car #3 but can't clear #1 before turn 7 and have to back out and run inside line. Lap had felt good up till then so I keep chasing #2 at full speed. I go into turn one and it gets a little dicey on the wheel but I'm able to get slowed and positioned for turn 2. The rear slides a little on exit but I get a good run to 3. I repeat to myself stay wide, stay wide then turn hard into three and full throttle out of three with another small slide. (At this point I'm thinking I just threw the lap with the slides) Flick the car around 4 and full throttle to last maker before hard fast brake and quick roll off as taking 5 with speed then quick brake to rotate the car and get as much throttle as possible on before apex of 6. Nearly drop two off on exit but get it back over to the left and brake hard into 7. I get enough speed scrubbed off that I can 80-90 percent throttle through 7, lift for some more turn in for 8 but get there a little early and extend 8 a few feet to get 9 set up. Car reaches the tipping point of brake or more throttle? I commit to throttle and thankfully it rolls a little more and the rear steer comes in and through 9 we go with only a small push that put me off line for 10. Recover best I could in the short distance and repeat in my head stay wide/slow down. Turn in at the very last possible point and get back to 50-60 throttle before apex. Car starts to push but I just add throttle and take out some wheel to get a set. Use all the exit curb, angle across the hill crest to cut distance and wish for every HP I can get. Brake hard at marker 3 and rotate car with a little trail brake so I can be full throttle committed before apex at 11. Rev all the way out to the stripe.....a quick glance at the Garmin says 1:46.69! I am pumped!!! Thought the first lap was going to be better but the data shows I was faster right from turn 1 on lap 2. Only lost a little time in 8 by comparison. Nailed turn 3 and 10 that lap which I'd been struggling the most with all weekend. 

That makes for a total of .55 better than back in the spring. Despite the drastic changes and arguably slower tires the car was great all weekend. Solid improvement IMO and ready for more once I get some weight out of the car and more power for next year. Plus try a more heavy car friendly tire.

asphalt_gundam
asphalt_gundam Reader
9/21/21 6:37 a.m.

Fast lap recap from Midwest Fest. You can notice just how loose the car is with the Garmin footage but the GoPro footage really shows it.

 

asphalt_gundam
asphalt_gundam Reader
9/27/21 9:30 a.m.

Waumandee Hill Climb recap and a few of the runs. Took home 4th fastest of the day!

 

amg_rx7 (Forum Supporter)
amg_rx7 (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
9/27/21 11:20 a.m.
asphalt_gundam said:

Also discovered a stress crack in the floor near the one seat mount that was contributing to seat movement. Drilled a hole through the mount and 3 layers of floor then sandwiched with a large washer for a noticable improvement.

https://www.izzyscustomcages.com/product-page/harness-mount-backing-plates
https://www.pegasusautoracing.com/productdetails.asp?RecID=29945
 

you want bigger backing plates for the harnesses and seat mounts. Scca and nasa have the specs in their rule books  

 

asphalt_gundam
asphalt_gundam Reader
9/27/21 12:33 p.m.

In reply to amg_rx7 (Forum Supporter) :

Its not either of those. Its just a bolt pulling 3 layers of body together. The top layer is the only one with the mounts but through whatever OEM tack welds it was pulling on the bottom layer (only the bottome showed a crack, top looks just fine). Seat is mounted to all the OEM studs and Belts to the OEM locations as well, + roll cage.

asphalt_gundam
asphalt_gundam Reader
10/19/21 12:55 p.m.

Its been a very busy last few weeks and my last event of the season was GridLife at Road America the other week. It did not go well....

I wanted to be testing more aero at RA because of the high speeds but didn't have time to finish fabricating the diffuser or any other aero parts. Didn't even have time to do my normal post/pre event check over which bit me. I'm still not quite sure of the whole weekend and this "off" feeling I have. Saturday kicked off bright and early with hours long fog delay. Then considering the further delays after ADV  HPDE and TA group A I'm pretty sure a car was wrecked in both...because of delays I was early to grid and pulled off to the side. While waiting group B started rolling out and I get told everyone is going this time to try to make up for delays, it a BIG track so not a problem of space. At this point I'm a little rushed to get going and once out of the pits I start warming up the brakes but they're just not coming in as quickly as I expect. Its cool and the track looks wet in places so I'm being cautious. But the cars in front are just about gone and the one behind are stacking up...I pick up the pace but start getting anxious (not normal for me) with not know what the track conditions are/overall grip level. By the time I get to turn 8 I realize that I can't feel what the tires are doing. Its handling fine and seems to be plenty of grip but I can't tell where the limit is (odd). After turn 14 I let everyone by, I didn't want anyone else around me since I was less than confident in grip at this point. By turn 1 the brakes are good but still lacking a little over normal (or at least I think they are) and I run lap at where I think grip is but in a mind set of just waiting for the rear to snap around on wet spot or too much throttle without warning. Starting the second flyer I'm feeling better about the brakes but still not confident in grip with zero feedback from the tires. Yellow flag at turn 5, there's a Subaru out into the wall pretty hard which does not help....I continue the lap as its still way up from the previous one and by the time I get to the line its a checker on the session for possibly the 3rd wrecked car.

I didn't realize it until I got out of the car that I am not ok....I feel hyper, confused about zero tire feel, motivated to do something, fix the car...anything, and stressed out all at once. Looking back I had just done 3 laps around RA basically white knuckle wondering/expecting the car to just snap around on me. A friend said I was shaken which I think describes it well. I've had offs, slides, spins...hell I've been in a plane crash and didn't feel this way. Others I talked to said "it happens" but man was it outside of my normal....First time I've ever gotten out of the car and did NOT have a good time. BTW I had run a PB that 2nd lap....

After calming down (as best I could) I realize that the zero feel was that I had forgotten to turn the shock setting up from street/trailer. After that I go to rotate the tires and notice a couple cracks in the rotor that I think are about to be a problem, then see nearly 3/8" tapper in the drivers front brake pad. With zero comfort that first session I don't trust the car. I have new rotors in the truck but no pads, luckily another racer had some on the way as backups but wouldn't get there till the afternoon. I miss a session but take the time to clean and free up the caliper pistons that were sticking and check over the car. Getting back on track for the evening session I was able to cut 3 seconds having the tire feel back and while the brake pedal was better the pad compound acted differently so I was getting used to that.  2:46.xx that lap with a lift for traffic after the kink and into Canada corner wasn't bad and I expected I could make a low 2:40 sometime on Sunday. 

Sunday morning was soaked wet but at least without fog. First time attack call was quickly changed to open track for any TA car that wanted to go. I went out wanting the laps to just get the practice in. Throttle oversteer and and being real easy on the brakes to not lock up is how it went and I was more comfortable with this session than the first one on Saturday. Up until lap 3 when I had rear lockup going into turn 8 which caused aggressive wheel hop and before I could get it under control something broke. A loud Snap followed by a short grinding noise made for no gears. Engine still running just fine but no movement in any gear and 3rd is messed up (gear it was in). I thought I'd blown a U joint at first but its most likely either the input shaft or clutch. Not how I wanted to end the season...with yet again a broken car leaving RA (3 for 3 now). I'm disappointed in myself and how the weekend went. I never got the chance to see my and the car's full potential, for constantly preaching prep work to others I was unable to do my own and it cost me. I didn't crash so that's something, many others weren't so lucky in the damp to wet conditions.

 

End of season thoughts:

Since getting back I've been putting a lot of thought into what I want out of this hobby. Not because of how RA went but because the '85 is "so good" right now as a street/track car and I'm afraid making it a better track car will ruin it as a fun street car. Showing it's weight the last several events I think the only real answers going forward are more power and weight reduction as the "easy" gains while getting way more scientific with the chassis setup is where some more could be found. Being described as "doing it the hardest way possible" and being told "literally anything else would be easier" hasn't been lost on me either. I'm just not a "what everyone else does" or "what's easiest" kinda person.

Building the '82 as a track car only is an option but one that is out of budget as far as a spring deadline for being ready.

I also have involvement with a Gen 4 Prelude build and a Gen 2 Eclipse but they're group projects and slow going. They're options, however still require substantial work and investment.

While the winter goal is to make progress on them all I've come to the conclusion that I've not achieved the full potential of the '85 yet and on the upgrades front I should finally be getting all my new engine parts this week....same engine I thought I'd have been running all this year. That will put me into at least the lower end of the competitive HP range of cars in Street Mod. Lightening the car will be a major undertaking. Easy level stuff I estimate 100lbs with just a fiberglass hood and LW battery and up to around 230lbs can be reduced with just parts, getting farther into the fabrication stuff a potential total of 450lbs+ could be removed, most of it at the front of the car. There also the option to widen the car but that, like the weight reduction, I just don't know what it all will add up to.

At my best finish this year I was 12 seconds off class winner at Autobahn with a close 2nd best of 13sec behind at Heartland on shot tires. Which I'm pretty happy with. At RA it was a distance of nearly 30 seconds. Granted it think I never got the chance to put an extra 5 or so on my time but the HP wasn't there for anything better at such a big track. I came up short of my goal of a top 5 with Autobahn being 7th. Going forward the goal is still a top 5 as there's little doubt that the competition will be faster next year.

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