¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltimaDork
1/22/24 7:13 a.m.

Another shot of the Verity tread pattern now that I've pulled all the little extra pieces of rubber off the center groove- nice and open:

The other thing I wanted to do was a little easy interior modification for the many night stages at Sno*Drift- we use red LEDs on the roof for a codriver light, and they work great, but at LSPR I found that my new helmet's wide eyeport lets the lights have a straight shot to my eyeballs and they're kind of distracting:

Solution: gaffer tape on the drain tube for the roof scoop makes a nice, flexible, lightweight blocker and should help me keep my night vision sharp:

Just a couple more weeks to Sno*Drift and the GRM forum's very own Robbie will be crewing for the first time!  Should be fun, fingers crossed for real snow.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltimaDork
2/1/24 7:31 a.m.

One week out from Sno*Drift and the weather is looking rainy, muddy, maybe slushy, maybe a little icy.  Current tire plan is to bring the Alphas and a set of Hoosier medium gravels with the fronts grooved for mud- I'm not thinking there's gonna be a whole lot of snow.

In other news, Sara will be running most of the ARA National Championship (minus Sno*Drift and Bristol, where she'll be in our BRZ) with the Pura Vida rally team Fiesta- excited for her first full national run!  They're signed up for 100 Acre Wood next month.

Spearfishin Reader
2/1/24 12:30 p.m.

Just wanted to drop in to say that a reference to your thread turned me onto Adam Brock, who just did two cages for me and a buddy, but for road course. Was a fantastic experience having him in the shop, and listening to all of his various Rally stories (and jargon...I probably had to ask for clarification once per anecdote on some word I'd never heard). It inspired me to come back and start your thread from the beginning and I've finally reached page 83. Put images to some of the same rallies he talked about, or more importantly put an image to his description of the "tractionized" tires. So just wanted to say thanks for documenting everything as you have. Turned me onto Adam, which may have never happened otherwise, and now I have a minor itch to build a rally car in spite of not having an engine, or even a timeline to install an engine, in the car he caged.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltimaDork
2/1/24 12:47 p.m.

In reply to Spearfishin :

That's awesome!  Adam is the best and I think you were his last road gig for a while, so you really got in just in time.  If you ever want to discuss rally stuff just reach out, although you probably know more than I do if you just read 83 pages of stuff I've probably half forgotten by now.

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
2/1/24 1:14 p.m.

Bring on the ice/slush/gravelsoup!

fidelity101 UberDork
2/1/24 2:07 p.m.
Pete. (l33t FS) said:

In reply to irish44j (Forum Supporter) :

IIRC it's an Aisin design, so Toyota?

Pretty sure it was also used in the S15, IS200, and RX-8s, possibly Miatas.  It has a horrible reputation in RX-8s so Mazda stopped using them and went in-house, or I may have the order backwards

you are correct. Aisin is the series 1 rx8 which sucks and resembles this gearbox. the S2 is some other manufacturer and is top loaded, different case and style all together. 

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltimaDork
2/4/24 7:23 a.m.

In reply to Robbie (Forum Supporter) :

I have never packed both of these for the same event before:

engiekev Dork
2/4/24 9:14 a.m.

See you there at start control!  Certainly will be a different experience with us anticipating to compete this year, will be paying a lot more attention to what to do as a team, I just wish we had more time to mingle at parc and service to learn more.

Current forecast is showing possibility for light rain on Friday and Saturday, with temps approaching 50* on Friday, it will be a mud fest for sure (queue Poo*Drift memes).


¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltimaDork
2/13/24 7:55 a.m.

Sno*Drift 2024- Towing and Recce

As usual, we were up and out very early:

With high temps, some lingering snow, and generally unknown conditions, we were carrying a whole lot of tires- 4 Alpha snows, 2 Blizzaks, 4 Hoosier Mediums (2 grooved for extra steering grip up front), and 2 Hoosier Hards.  The tow was uneventful and we got everything unloaded into the airbnb, registered, and met up with the crew for dinner.

Our house for this one contained 3 teams- Shirley/Lybarger (War Weasel), Williamson/Stewart (Bit by Bit, rustbucketlegacy on the forum), and us, with a super solid crew of Josh (irish44j), Kevin, David, Robbie (Robbie), Sterling, and Brian.  The next morning David was generous enough to lend us his Corolla for recce, and it handled everything from mud to snow to ice to sand like a champ:

Our notes had a ton of surface changes and little details, including a new surface note we created for this, "patchy" meaning ice patches on an otherwise dry road.  I think we did a fantastic job on the notes for this one, and we reviewed video for everything at least once in order to get things really ironed out- the video review is absolutely mind numbing but I'm getting used to it:

Ultimately, based on road conditions, we decided to start the rally on our nice chunky Alpha snow tires- it was going to be in the 40s, but the day 1 stages were extremely muddy and still had slush in places so we figured they would do better than gravels as long as we could avoid flats.  We also cranked the ride height another 5/8" or so just to try and keep the underside of the car off the ground as the ruts would inevitably get deeper (don't worry, there are jack stands here you just can't see them):

A quick test drive and we were ready to go, 36 psi in the snows to avoid debeads.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltimaDork
2/13/24 8:30 a.m.

Sno*Drift 2024 Day (Night) 1

Parc expose is always packed at this event, but the warmer temps really had everyone out in full force- there are 40 cars in this photo Robbie took but good luck finding them:

I applied a special decal to commemorate the unusual conditions:

This event was also a mini GRM meetup, since we had (from memory) irish44j, Robbie, fidelity101, engiekev, pilotbraden, and cdowd all in approximately the same place at the same time- neat!

The rally start time was around sundown on Friday, so things started to get dark and soon we were off with Dan and Nate just ahead of us in the War Weasel (most of the uncredited shots here are from Josh or Sara):

We transited down to SS1 Shoreline-Orchard, which starts out sandy and dry along the side of a lake, but then climbs up into the VERY muddy woods.  The Alphas weren't confidence inspiring on the packed sand, having to lean on them pretty hard to get them to turn as the soft tread and sidewall rolled over on the grippy surface, but once we hit the mud they really started working- the braking grip in particular was fantastic, and spinning the rears up would power the car in whatever direction it was pointing pretty effectively.  The ruts were already deep enough to be regularly dragging the skidplate, but we put in the fastest regional 2wd time and 3rd fastest overall 2wd for a strong start.

SS2, Soden-Blue Lake, was over 8 miles of soupy, slushy mud from end to end- with a goal of just making it through without getting stuck, we were a little slower here, taking a 2nd place regional 2wd time to Shively/Huizar in their lightweight Golf on its' awesome mud tires; I actually think they're the only ones in all of 2wd who truly had the right tires, I was a little jealous.  Things were working, the notes were flowing perfectly, and the car was doing as well as I could reasonably ask.

Jerry Winker photo:

SS3, Quinnan-Sage Creek, was much shorter and had a more pleasant surface for most of it, although some parts were definitely rutted up and muddy.  In one of the most chewed up sections, we managed to tag a rock with the right rear, and I actually had astonishing mud grip for about 10 seconds as the pressure slowly lowered and eventually dropped to zero.  With less than a mile left to go in the stage, we ran all the way out on the flat, losing a bit of time and dropping from 1st back to 2nd in regional 2wd and 4th to 5th overall 2wd.  We made quick work of the tire change at the beginning of the transit and were back to service on time.

In service, rather than risk flatting more of our snow tires since we might need them if things got really cold on day 2, we elected to swap both rears to the medium Hoosier gravels, leaving the Alphas up front to retain some steering and braking response in the muck.  Dirt was scraped, underbody protection was re-secured, tires were switched, and well within the 30 minute window David, Kevin, and Robbie had us ready to go back out:

Here's that unfortunate Alpha rear again:

The second loop of the night was a repeat of the first, so SS4 was back to Shoreline-Orchard again.  With the gravels on the rear, we were notably faster on the lakeside sandy section this time, and the mud up top seemed to be equally horrible for everyone- we had the fastest overall 2wd time for this stage, and regained our lead in regional 2wd and bumped back up to 4th overall 2wd.  We also nearly got stuck in the mud just trying to get from the flying finish to the control, but that's 2wd rally in the mud for you.

SS5 Soden-Blue Lake was a mess too, and with the added bonus of us having an incredibly close call with a deer on one of the straights we yet again were slower than the little Golf, but with Santiago and RJ in the other BRZ struggling with their tire choice for this loop we managed to move up into the 3rd overall 2wd spot.

SS6 Quinnan-Sage Creek was more fun in a number of places with the gravels on the back, especially since lots of rocks had surfaced at this point, but we still put in an unspectacular time just saving the car to get the the finish- at this point I was acutely aware that the skid plate was pushing up very close to the oil pan from all the dragging in the ruts.

For this event Chad Traub had awesomely offered us a heated shop complete with pressure washer and lift to reprep on Friday night, and it was hugely appreciated- David cleaned the car and I got to work making my skidplate a little further from the oil pan again while Kevin and David handled various other underbody attachments:

After some hammertime and more pressure washing, things went back together with 4 medium Hoosiers installed for the dryer (although colder) stages of the next day.  Robbie handled food prep for the house, people ate, and we were all in bed by 2am I think.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltimaDork
2/13/24 9:11 a.m.

Sno*Drift 2024 Day 2

Our 4wd housemates were kicking ass, so the War Weasel had run away up the order and Andrew and Julia were starting right behind us.  Parc expose was much colder this morning, but we had mostly gotten enough rest and the car seemed good to go- a number of other 2wds were on gravels so we figured if our tire choice was really terrible there would be other cars stuck by the time we got to the bad parts.  We had two Alphas in the trunk in case we needed them, anyway.

SS7 Hunters-McCormick was pleasantly dry, packed, and non-icy and we started the day with a solid if unspectacular time and things were feeling good.

SS8, however, was Old State-Huff and it's the one that had me questioning our tire choice all morning- most of it was fine, but the first 1.5 miles or so were just rolling skinny hills of wet ice.  We REALLY tiptoed through this section (and not for nothing, there was a car that had fallen so far off the road I couldn't see anything but the crew standing on the side of the road) and our time was nothing particularly special, although we held our class and overall position.

Henry Roeters photo:

On SS9 Mills-Meaford, we sort of got our rhythm back but the times didn't show it- we were noticeably losing grip, and a vibration from the rear had me thinking we might even have a flat.  We had been running the Hoosiers at 26psi all morning and the consistently dropping temperature was making itself known.

Back to service, and a quick checkover revealed that the only problem was a whole bunch of cold mud stuck to everything.  Ok then, we'll keep the gravels on and try dropping the tire pressures.

Back to Hunters-McCormick for SS10 and with the tires as close to "warm" as existed in that weather, we set them to 23psi before entering the time control.  And it worked!  The car felt great again and we put in the 3rd fastest overall 2wd time for the stage and fastest regional 2wd.

SS11 was Old State-Huff again and we kept the same tactic as last time, just survive that early ice section, and yet again there was another car tipped off the edge in the same place although this time I could see a little bit of wing sticking up at the edge of the road at least.  An unimpressive time dropped us to 4th overall 2wd.

SS12 back to Mills-Meaford and we hit the spectator corner nicely and were back on pace- fastest regional 2wd and 3rd fastest overall 2wd times were the reward.

Chris Heikkuri/UpNorth Motorsports Media photo:

Back to service and it was yet again scraping mud and adding fuel and cleaning windows- back out for the longest stage of the rally, in the dark with temps still dropping.

SS13 Camp 30-East Branch is a tough one in the best of conditions at 14.72 miles with varied surfaces and speeds, and as far as I know, always run in twilight or dark.  This was the only stage where our surface notes had fully expired due to weather conditions between recce and competition, and the result was a number of minor scares with surprise ice or mud- our pace was midpack overall 2wd and 3rd regional 2wd, and we were still in 4th for overall 2wd standings with 5 seconds to close to the (imaginary) overall combined regional/national 2wd podium.  One stage to go, the best one.

SS14 is called Thunder River but nobody calls it that, they call it Bonfire Alley.  Over 1000 spectators complete with drones, lasers, flares lining the road in places, strobe lights, stereos, lots of beer, and bonfires that they throw cups of gas on as cars approach.  There's nothing else like it in any rally we've ever competed in.

Matt Johnston drone shot:

Our notes for this one were still good, apparently not much precipitation out here since recce.  We slid through the big spectator hairpin nicely, but the real magic moment was at the end- in the snow, there's a thing that's just a big rolling hill for us normally, but on the dry surface it was a mid-5th gear jump with the lights illuminating absolutely nothing after the takeoff, and we hit it flat out.  Rally over, and while the regional and national fields are scored separately, we had reeled in Scully/Gelsomino to get 3rd in overall combined 2wd by 0.4 seconds!

A long dark transit brought us to the finish to meet back up with crews, dogs, and competitors (missing Stirling, Brian, and Robbie since they had run to spectate):

So we not only won the L2wd regional, but all of regional 2wd, and got our 3rd place when compared to the national competitors too.  The other two teams in the house shared a podium too, so everyone went home with hardware- and temperature be damned, we sprayed champagne too:

Thank you so much to everyone who helped make this happen!

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltimaDork
2/13/24 9:13 a.m.

Our tow home went just fine too, although Dan and Nate weren't so lucky and ended up driving the rally car with their recce car hogging the trailer.  I have spent 3 hours pressure washing and the car might be getting close to clean:

java230 PowerDork
2/13/24 10:48 a.m.

Congratulations! Bonfire ally always looks nuts.

TurnerX19 UberDork
2/13/24 10:53 a.m.


Jim Pettengill
Jim Pettengill HalfDork
2/13/24 12:22 p.m.

Thanks so much for the detailed build nd event summaries - those of us who used to do this years ago and now participate vicariously really appreciate it, almost like being there!

fidelity101 UberDork
2/13/24 4:05 p.m.

great job over the weekend! really help embarrass them 02WD fellas :) 

great battles all weekend and not with the competitors but battling the conditions for sure. 

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
2/14/24 10:41 p.m.

Always good times to be a part of the crew, and ALWAYS good when everyone finishes and everyone takes home hardware!

AxeHealey SuperDork
2/15/24 8:57 a.m.

Nice work!

Lof8 - Andy
Lof8 - Andy UltraDork
2/15/24 1:31 p.m.

Congrats on another great rally!

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltimaDork
2/19/24 7:44 a.m.

More cleaning, more maintenance:

First up, how's that flat tire doing?  Not great, it turns out- the sidewall has a whole bunch of punctures, this is why gravel tires are nice and reinforced:

If you've never raced on a flat tire before, it does some fascinating things to the sidewall from the inside as well since the rubber overheats and grinds against itself:

The wheel also didn't do so great:

Back to the car, one of my favorite silly things we had to do mid-rally was drill a clearance hole for this strut tower hardware- the extended towers mean it touches the hood, and it finally wore its' way through so Kevin drilled the hole out to keep the hood from hanging up on the threads:

One nice thing about cold and wet conditions, the gravel tires are minimally worn:

How about those diff and transmission temps?  Still pretty hot, but I sent these temperatures to Motul and they cautioned me that I should definitely use relatively short intervals for changing the gear oil but they didn't completely say I was doing something wrong so I think I'll just live with it:

Skidplate bolts mostly came out, one broke and required a little welder action:

And naturally now that our only snow rally of the year became a mud rally, we have lots of snow:

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltimaDork
3/4/24 10:00 a.m.

We spent the weekend down at Sandblast Rally with Dakar badass Bill Conger, Sara codriving in his ridiculous Predator X18 buggy:

They were extremely fast when it was working, but ultimately CVT belt issues ended the rally early for them.  One of the night stages in the rain on the first day was an overall stage win!

Sara had some creative solutions to keep her notes dry:

I tried to help fix the thing in service but ultimately there are too many variables in one of these CVTs and there was no smoking gun for the issue at hand:

We camped out of the beater BRZ the whole time and generally enjoyed the whole experience, though:

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltimaDork
3/18/24 7:48 a.m.

Yet another rally this past weekend, with Sara codriving for Roberto Yglesias at 100 Acre Wood in Missouri and me crewing for Hooper's Lexus rental operation.  Lexus stuff mostly went well:

Sara had a much rougher time, starting off the rally with a nasty stomach flu and probably a mild concussion, followed by super bad luck on day 1 when they caught the car ahead and were treated to a huge amount of gravel spray, breaking their windshield and radiator:

The crew persevered though, and they were back strong on day 2 with the windshield out of Alastair Scully's recce Fiesta and a borrowed radiator:

Day 2 went much better and they took the power stage win to salvage some points for the championship.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltimaDork
4/1/24 6:06 a.m.

BRZ has been getting basic reprep.  I decided to try some bolt head protector washers- the standard size was a little tall and probably would catch on stuff:

So I took a grinder to them and knocked them down to a more reasonable amount of clearance:

Fresh rear pads are why it was parked outside- recently bedded HP+ are smelly.  You probably can't see the smoke in this picture but, just use your imagination:

TurnerX19 UberDork
4/1/24 11:48 a.m.

I love the smell of brake pad in the morning.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltimaDork
4/1/24 11:59 a.m.

In reply to TurnerX19 :

The neat thing when you bed in rear pads with a hydraulic handbrake is, you don't need to touch the pedal and put any wear on the fronts!

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