irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
6/14/22 8:39 p.m.
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ said:

Onboard from the last stage- I know it looks slow, trust me it felt faster!


personal preference that only matters to me and it's not my vid: I'd much rather see the in-car view "big" and the low camera smaller (or not at all). In-car gives a much better feel for the stage, even if it looks slower. Plus I like seeing what the driver is doing :)

paperpaper Reader
6/14/22 9:32 p.m.

congratulations on 69 pages. And a sofr well done. Ill get yall on home turf in a month. 


bluej (Forum Supporter)
bluej (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
6/14/22 11:02 p.m.

In reply to irish44j (Forum Supporter) :

I've asked about this before, and we need to talk to Sara about it. I was going to text her, but I've had a few other things going on.. 

Sara, how hard would that be? The camera placement for the in-car seems to be very well done for getting a feel of what it's like driving to stage notes being called.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltimaDork
6/15/22 6:04 a.m.
irish44j (Forum Supporter) said:

Nice job, as I've already said :)

That's insane you kill the diff bushings in one event - I know it's a different setup but I've literally had the same diff/subframe bushings for like 7 years on mine with no issues. Any thought to switching to a UHMV bushing - that's what I have. Seems those would be a lot harder to kill. 

Did the rear control arm bolts stay tight this time with the rubber bushings and nordlocs?

Looking forward to NEFR. While following you guys rallying all over is fun, it's not as much fun as doing it ourselves lol. 

Rear control arm bolts stayed tight but this was also a smooth one so who knows.  More testing needed.

Whiteline took one look at the bushing and said "these are not for you" so they're giving me a credit towards something else and I'm going to install solid rubber ones instead.  The stock ones lasted 6 events and a whole rallycross season so I think the polyurethane just wasn't the correct answer.


¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltimaDork
6/15/22 6:51 a.m.

In reply to bluej (Forum Supporter) :

Honestly, completely slipped my mind to mention it- part of the way we get this stuff handled efficiently is a very clear split of car reprep vs. video/media duties, so my input is limited to "oh hey can we do the other way around on the screen split?" and I forgot to bring it up.

In reply to paperpaper :

Can't emphasize enough how impressive your speed was at this one- NEFR is gonna be a wild ride!

kodachrome New Reader
6/16/22 11:06 a.m.

In reply to bluej (Forum Supporter) :

Onboard only




¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltimaDork
6/20/22 8:27 a.m.

Delaminated polyurethane bushings out:

Solid rubber ones in- hopefully they hold up better, if not I'll go back to stock:

Also installed an updated tune from Xero-Limit: the flat shift and launch control features that I wasn't really using (actually tried using the flat shifting for a while and it was cool but caused more missed shifts than it was worth) were getting in the way on handbrake maneuvers since they impose an artificial rev limit with the clutch in.  Now those are removed and the car will do the same thing every time when I hit the gas:

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
6/20/22 12:05 p.m.

You going to come to the double header rally cross next weekend?

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltimaDork
6/20/22 12:17 p.m.

Undecided.  Even with the doubleheader, the towing costs are a bit much for a rallycross right now.

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
6/20/22 7:19 p.m.
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ said:

Undecided.  Even with the doubleheader, the towing costs are a bit much for a rallycross right now.

I mean just drive the car itseld. It has ac, and good practice for NEFR transits lol.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
6/20/22 7:48 p.m.
irish44j (Forum Supporter) said:
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ said:

Undecided.  Even with the doubleheader, the towing costs are a bit much for a rallycross right now.

I mean just drive the car itseld. It has ac, and good practice for NEFR transits lol.

Is each stage in a different state?


irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
6/20/22 9:00 p.m.

Roughly 300 miles of transits (and 110 miles of stage) at NEFR, as I recall from this year's supps.

Plus all that distance in recce as well

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltimaDork
6/21/22 2:24 p.m.

Tire inventory since nothing is on the car right now:

We have enough new/low wear Hoosiers to make it through NEFR and STPR, but after that I'll need to reassess.  Hoosier has raised the price and changed their contingency so they're not as much of a clear winner for cost and performance as they were when I first decided to run them, although I do like the performance so maybe I should just stick with what works.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltimaDork
6/28/22 3:46 p.m.

Changed the transmission oil since it was getting a little crunchy, found some metal and what appears to be an escaped detent ball:

I'm going to file this, along with the oil leak that is developing on the corner of the timing cover and the noisy throwout bearing, under "stuff that will be way easier to address properly after STPR if it doesn't get too bad before then" and keep an eye on it.   This car needs to go through two more rallies before it can get torn down for thorough offseason maintenance, and I already have a spare transmission waiting for it.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltimaDork
7/10/22 9:48 a.m.

Last bit of prep for NEFR- the rear brake pads were getting low even though there's plenty of material left on the fronts:

I guess this makes sense given that the brake bias is set much further rearward than stock for gravel, and the weight distribution is more tail heavy too.  Bedding in rear pads with the hydraulic handbrake is fun.

It drives well, hopefully it's ready!

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltimaDork
7/12/22 2:28 p.m.

New England Forest Rally 2022 Setup:

Front Suspension:
Damping: 300/70 Bilstein
Spring Rate: 225 lbs/in
Ride Height (pinch weld): 7.75"
Bumpstop:  3" soft rubber
Toe: 0" to maybe ever so slightly out
Tires: Hoosier 185/65R15 Hard Compound, new-ish (left front is actually new)

Rear Suspension:
Damping: 3p-8 AFCO
Spring Rate: 250 lbs/in
Ride Height (pinch weld): 7.5"
Bumpstop:  2.75" soft foam
Toe: 0" (changed from slight toe in)
Tires: Hoosier 185/65R15 Hard Compound, used previously as fronts

We should finally get to learn how the car jumps with the new (as of almost a year ago) rear shock valving.
We have last year's notes going into this one with only one new stage, so the notes should hopefully be really solid.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltimaDork
7/18/22 8:05 a.m.

NEFR 2022


The tow up to NEFR was wonderfully uneventful and included a stop to visit my brother and sister in law- it was a long day though because we got straight out to recce Concord Pond and both directions of North Road the moment we were there and registered.  We used the Tundra for recce again at this one since the XTerra we borrowed from Slow is Fast Racing last year was down with an ignition problem- we had our notes from last year so we mostly just marked those up for the stages that matched, although we did have to write North Road Reverse from scratch.  Interestingly, I felt like the notes we wrote from scratch were better than the edited older notes, which means we're getting pretty good at writing them.

We got some dinner and went back to the airbnb with irish44j, bluej, Jim, Amanda, Andrew, Dan, and Nate- those last two crewed last year, and Dan decided to build a car for this year.  This would be his first rally in a freshly built car, with a brand new codriver to boot.  More on that later.

The next day we were up and out nice and early for more recce- overall the stages were a little smoother than usual, but there were plenty of huge rocks just off the road waiting to be pulled onto the line to ruin people's day.  We got two passes of the more complex stages and settled for a single pass of the Wilson Mills/Aziscohos/Morton loop since we didn't want to break our tow vehicle:

And we even had time to get out and enjoy the scenery with the dogs for a bit:

Checking the car over, things seemed just fine so we got dinner and a halfway decent night of rest to prepare for what was sure to be a fast and competitive rally- the entry list was smaller this year, but just about everyone on it was fast and we counted at least 5 people in our class who we expected to work very hard to try and keep up with.  We also had our special notes worked out for Kimmett's kick and Monolith's bridge of destruction- Monolith was back with a new, even shinier gold car after last year's incident.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltimaDork
7/18/22 8:29 a.m.

NEFR 2022

Rally Day 1

We did the usual parc expose things and ended up just one space away from the fancy cars so that was fun:

We transited out to SS1 Concord Pond for the fastest opening stage of any rally I've ever been to- it's so freaking hard to commit to all of the blind 5s over crests right off the bat, and the surface was loose, so we ran a time we weren't entirely happy with and resolved to go faster on the next pass.  SS2 Concord Pond dropped 8 seconds and we actually got some decent air in places, but I was still really annoyed with my lack of commitment to the notes and probably left at least 20 reasonably safe seconds on the table.

Back to service, and bluej, Andrew, and Amanda checked things over but the car seemed just fine.  Pretty soon it was time to fuel (Deep 6 Rally Team helped out with this since we had 3 cars for 3 crew members) and we headed out to SS3 South Arm.

I like South Arm a lot, it's really fast but you can see juuuuuuuust enough to push comfortably- we got our pace back and were running much closer to the leading times than we had on Concord Pond.  We kept that up when we went to SS4 Beaver Pond, and while none of us were really going to catch Whitsell and Cyr, we had a good grouping of White, Horrocks, Brolin, Eckstein, Allen, and us all running similar enough times to make it feel like a proper battle.  There was also a super low flying drone on this stage that I can't wait to see footage from.

SS5 was Icicle Brook, and it had all the fast parts of South Arm along with a tight downhill section, plenty of rocks, some kicks, and the setting sun in your eyes for a significant portion of the stage.  We went really, really fast and committed even when blinded by the sun, and other than passing a number of broken cars and nearly missing a virtual chicane which had had the sign knocked down we didn't really slow down for much.  It felt great and was a strong end to the day.

We didn't have to work on much overnight, which was great since we didn't get much time to sleep anyway before the 7am parc expose the next morning.  Some teams weren't so lucky and had to remake whole panels complete with graphics:

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltimaDork
7/18/22 8:59 a.m.

NEFR 2022

Day 2

Everyone at parc expose on day 2 was half asleep, but most cars were still in it and a few that had dropped the previous day were back to try again.  We were sitting 5th in L2wd with about a minute to regain if we wanted to get onto the podium, mostly thanks to Concord Pond.  But this rally is a car breaker, and a minute is a flat tire, so we knew it was time to turn it up even more if we could.

SS6 was North Road Reverse, and it went great- we ran a reasonably competitive time and jumped right back on pace rather than the slow start we'd had the day prior.  I was feeling good, Sara was delivering the notes perfectly, and we planned to keep pushing harder.  SS7 was Sturtevant Short and we were ready to see what we could get out of the car on it, once we passed the nasty rock crawling transit to get in there.  I am not sure if that transit hurt anything although it didn't seem to.

On SS7, flying along and feeling awesome about 1.2 miles in, something on an R5/cr knocked the entire front end of the car into the air- can't see it on video, can't see in photos, no berkeleying idea what it was, but it was like we'd hit a landmine with the front right wheel.  I didn't think much of it and continued to push hard for the rest of the stage, but the car wasn't handling quite right.  Here's a photo from a few miles later, still pushing:

That right front wasn't sitting the way it should, and the car was turning way differently left vs. right- of course I didn't really clock this in great detail while driving, just knew something wasn't going quite right.  Somehow we ran a competitive time like this, I would love to know what it would have been without the damage.

By the time we transited to the next stage, Wilson Mills, I'd figured out something in the front end was bad so I hopped out and looked.  Sorry for no photo of the strut itself, we were pressed for time and I was trying to un-bend it by kicking the hell out of the wheel with this corner jacked up:

The strut insert was bent near the top and looked like a twisted soda can.  We somehow ran fast enough to hold our class position on Wilson Mills, but it was relatively smooth so I could just baby that corner over the kicks and otherwise run at a halfway decent speed.  By the end of the stage the strut had cracked a little but was still holding together, and was puking all of its' oil out.

The next stage was Aziscohos, and it's hard to get through without damage in a perfectly good car, so you can imagine how we had to run with a bent strut and only a couple inches of ground clearance- I was basically just driving the right front on the smoothest road I could, with the secondary goal of keeping the nose off the rocks where I could.  Partway through the stage the noises from the front got a LOT louder and the steering got a lot worse.  We got passed once, crept through some sections at really low speed, but we made it.  Here's what greeted me in the wheel well when I hopped out at the end:

Yep, that's snapped all the way through.  Figuring it would at least stay in the tower as long as we didn't fully unload it, we ran Morton Cutoff really slow and kept the front wheel planted on the smoothest piece of road we could the whole way through, bleeding time the whole way just trying to keep the thing pointed the right direction.  We managed to make it through that stage too, and by my math we ran probably about 12 total stage miles with a fully snapped strut.

Then we had a 30 mile transit to get back to service, so we did- I'm not going to claim this was safe, we shouldn't have been driving on public roads like this but dammit if I could keep the car moving I was going to.  We made it to service on time too.

The moment we hit the service park it was go time- bluej, Andrew, Pat, Cam, the Deep 6 guys, everyone was all-in on getting a fix going.  Problem was, I only had a spare insert which meant we had to salvage the bent, bashed, gouged, seized housing inside of 30 minutes.  A vice and angle grinder from Down East Rally Team were involved:

We blew right through the 30 minute service just getting what was left of the insert out of there, and then had to cut it up further to jam the new insert in.  We actually had the thing most of the way together and everyone worked right up to the last second as the 15 minute maximum lateness expired, but it was no use- we drove all that way on this broken thing and had an all hands on deck 45 minute thrash but it wasn't enough, we were out.  Our first real DNF.

This is on me.  I wanted to save the $500 that it would take to make whole new housings, so I never did and just packed a spare strut insert, figuring that if we made it back to service at all it would mean the housing was still usable.  It wasn't, and it cost us the rally- we actually got the car back together enough for gentle road driving shortly after the MPL expired, but with no points to earn there was no reason to go out on compromised hardware so we didn't reenter.  After feeling sorry for ourselves for a bit we took this picture with our cool two piece strut insert:

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltimaDork
7/18/22 9:14 a.m.

NEFR 2022

Day 2 continued

With that, this story stops being about us- it was time to see what we could do for other teams.  So next service we helped fuel TJ's car, tightened up some bolts on the War Weasel, packed up, and drove our sort-of-repaired rally car out to the final stage finish at North Road to see our friends make it.  At that finish there were lots of high fives, a push start on McNamara's car to get him running for the final transit, and this wonderful tire failure on Burden's car:

And yeah, the War Weasel and irish44j made it!

On their way back they cleaned out a roadside pie stand in celebration:

After they left, we were waiting at the finish for one more car- Kathy Moody's 280ZX.  She came through the finish line with THE SAME FREAKING FAILURE AS OUR CAR, a right front strut broken clean in half- this time near the bottom.  Since we were DNF'd competitors and not a service crew it wasn't illegal for us to help, so her codriver Amy got the car in the air, some volunteers produced an aluminum baseball bat and a sawzall, and pretty soon the strut was sleeved together with a piece of a bat and ratchet strapped into place to hopefully keep it together for a 20 mile transit.  We followed the Z in our car, flashers on, 20mph with smoke pouring out of the Z's wheel well as the front tire rubbed through the collapsing repair on the strut, until about 7 miles in the tire audibly exploded and they pulled over- their trailer was already on the way, so both our pointy orange cars as Kathy calls them, were done:

They later showed up as finished anyway, so somebody overlooked that last transit or smiled at the attempt- either way I'm glad we tried.

We showed up to the awards late, grabbed a little food, and got to witness Dan and Nate's first podium- they managed to get third in regional NA4wd in an almost completely stock Outback Sport Wagon at their first rally ever:

All in all, a good rally to be involved with even if we didn't make it- seeing our friends complete their first rally and irish44j defeat NEFR after a previous DNF was awesome.  The subject of the night after that became "what did we hit?" and nobody has any video or photo evidence of what it was so we're going with a land mine or an old timey stack of TNT with forest gnomes pushing the plunger as Andrew suggested.

I've already ordered parts to build two more front struts.

golfduke Dork
7/18/22 9:34 a.m.

Tough luck!  Bluej stayed over our house last night and talked about this.  It's just such a strange failure on a mostly unloaded wheel, you have to think it was a debris kickup or something... To not have any control arm or bushing damage in addition to a completely snapped strut housing is just... so strange to me. 



¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltimaDork
7/18/22 9:47 a.m.

In reply to golfduke :

I think it's possible the insert took a rock hit at some point earlier and weakened that spot, especially since the wheel and tire seem to be fine.  It was a pretty hard hit though, although how much of that was just the bushings seizing on the bent strut will always be a question.

engiekev HalfDork
7/18/22 10:46 a.m.

No NEFR trip is complete without puzzle mountain bakery!

Lots of attrition this year at NEFR it seemed like, the toughest rally in the US?

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltimaDork
7/18/22 3:20 p.m.

In reply to engiekev :

Might be the toughest- I think this year was an especially interesting example.  The roads were less rocky than usual, which let people go faster, which meant the rocks that did make it into the road were hit at a really high speed.  It was also super dusty which makes dodging stuff difficult.

Patrick MegaDork
7/18/22 4:10 p.m.

You made twitter


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