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dr_strangeland
dr_strangeland New Reader
6/27/21 4:30 p.m.

We're back!

 

The car has a completely new drivetrain: 

  • 1999 engine from a JDM vehicle
  • six speed from the same car
  • OS Giken diff with a 3.636 ring and pinion

Serious other improvements have been made, I finally upgraded the front brakes to the 949 boxmount BBK with a 1" Wilwood master cylinder. Front sway is now a Small Fortune Racing tubular bar with modified 949 endlinks. I've also been pulling more weight out of the car and making a serious effort to fix the cooling issues with better ducting. 

This season might be fairly low key, planning on running all the Maryhill events (two with NHA, one with SOVREN) and Virginia City. Maybe Bible Creek, I'm not sure. 

Jesse Ransom
Jesse Ransom UltimaDork
6/27/21 10:33 p.m.

In reply to dr_strangeland :

Excellent!

Also, in my failure to really look into my region's hillclimbs, I didn't realize there were so many opportunities to run Maryhill...

dr_strangeland
dr_strangeland New Reader
6/29/21 6:38 p.m.

Yes, there are many more events there than I realized. There's an Audi club that runs an event and a Ford Focus club that runs an event there as well.

I'm sure there are others that I don't know about.

Are you going to be at Maryhill in September?

dr_strangeland
dr_strangeland New Reader
10/2/21 11:32 a.m.

And then we took the car to rallycross:

Jesse Ransom
Jesse Ransom UltimaDork
10/2/21 7:39 p.m.

In reply to dr_strangeland :

Sorry, missed the question. Er, and the event.

Building a new shop, and haven't even taken the cover off the MG this year... Hope to be in a position to be moving my stuff in in another month or so, crossing fingers for actually getting ready for next season a bit before the actual season.

How'd it work out for rallycross?

dr_strangeland
dr_strangeland New Reader
10/2/21 8:33 p.m.

No worries! NHA actually cancelled Maryhill for what must be the first time ever. There was a crazy storm system that came through with low temps and huge amounts of rain. Given how dangerous the event is generally it was decided that the best idea was to cancel. 

Really disappointing, but in the end maybe for the best.

The car was amazing at rallycross. I made some video:

 

I changed the springs to the 8 inch 2.5" 550/375 ones that came with the fox setup but otherwise left everything the same. It raised the car a bit more than an inch.

We were really competitive in the dry. I was 4th out of 12 drivers in Mod RWD after the morning sessions. Then it rained.

I was on some clapped out BFG Rivals that I cut a bunch of tread into with a regrooving iron. Worked so well.

 

 

AClockworkGarage
AClockworkGarage Dork
10/3/21 8:20 p.m.

Wow. This little car really can do anything!

Surely nothing bad will happen.

Blazer178
Blazer178 New Reader
10/4/21 6:14 p.m.

In reply to dr_strangeland :

I hope you do not mind but i pmed you and love the write up so far and keep doing it

thanks Butch King #178

dr_strangeland
dr_strangeland New Reader
10/5/21 2:27 p.m.
AClockworkGarage said:

Wow. This little car really can do anything!

Surely nothing bad will happen.

Bahaha!

So far the casualty count has been:

  • GV front lip completely destroyed
  • Aluminum ducting ripped off
  • Exhaust now has significant leaks and needs to be replaced
  • Dirt. Everywhere. I pulled the wheels and put it on jack stands to wash it but it's still everywhere
  • The crank pulley developed a fatal wobble but that's not due to rallycross, just coincidence

Honestly the rallycross was less hard on the car than the last hillclimb. But more on that in a moment.

dr_strangeland
dr_strangeland New Reader
10/5/21 3:02 p.m.
Blazer178 said:

In reply to dr_strangeland :

I hope you do not mind but i pmed you and love the write up so far and keep doing it

thanks Butch King #178

Thanks! I need to get back into writing posts, it's a lot of work and takes some effort, but it's worth it in the end.

dr_strangeland
dr_strangeland Reader
10/5/21 4:39 p.m.

Well, the hillclimb season is officially over, and the car is officially broken. I'm still not entirely sure what caused all the detonation on Sunday, but my feeling is a combination of bad or marginal gas, some inadvertent timing advance, and just building way more boost than we normally run due to low temps and the taller gearing in the car now.

It's clear that a rod is bent, the crank counterweight is scuffing the piston skirt but otherwise the car is driveable. I feel really bad, I keep thinking about the things I could have changed to save the engine, but in the end there was very little time to tune and as I went through the tank of gas the car just kept running worse and worse.

This weekend was just one thing after another. But it started well before the weekend. Let's rewind a week to last Sunday. 

The car was sounding weird after the rallycross, and I noticed the crank pulley wasn't completely straight. Oops. I think someone screwed up a timing belt change on my 1999 motor:

<crying face emoji>

Whatever, the right side of the keyway is fine. I busted out my trusty flat file and got the crank round enough to put on a shiny new pulley, key and bolt from Mazda (thanks to University Mazda and Walker Renton Mazda!). All was well, and the engine was running smoothly.

It's fine, everything's fine.

I button everything up on Friday, don't really have time to shake it down, but it seems to be running ok. I don't set the timing. I left the CPS at the same place it's been in the last two BP motors, given ideal cam timing with a non-stretched timing belt. Should be fine, right? Sure.

We drive down to the Columbia river gorge on Friday, and the car is running fine. There was some spark blowout at first, but I reseated all the plug wires and it was gone. It's true that at some point during the week I realized that the FM turbo kit air filter was basically done, I think because I didn't clean it enough and because of, I dunno, the crushing force of the atmosphere, it had basically turned into a discarded beer can.

Oops. I'm not sure this was flowing as well as it should. So, I managed to jam a big double cone filter on the intake.

The hood closes, I swear. It really does.

What could possibly go wrong? I just improved the airflow to the turbo. That can't be bad, right?

Physics. She be a hard mistress.

Nothing seemed amiss, although the car was, in hindsight, making probably dangerous amounts of boost. I think what happened was the cam timing was retarded when I put the engine in due to keyway damage, I retuned it, and then when I fixed the crank pulley I got a handful of degrees of advance, which in turn made way more boost. I will put a timing light on it before I pull the engine.

 

ANYWAY.

We get to the Columbia river gorge in the evening on Friday, set up camp, and enjoy the surroundings. It's a incredible location, with random wild vintage racecars everywhere.

Unfff. So good.

Saturday morning dawns bright and early, with the hunters next to our camp rolling out at 5:45 am in their 4" exhaust diesel bro-truck. We headed up to the hill to get teched, and then go to the car show at the Maryhill museum. Everything was going fine, the car passed tech, and as they were handing me my windshield sticker, the tech guy was like "I don't have to see your fire suit, or safety gear, I just need you to have them".

My mind raced. NHA only requires a long sleeved cotton tee shirt and a HANs (I know, we are crazy, don't @ me), and we have to have our windows up or run arm restraints. SOVREN requires a full fire suit, but no HANs or arm restraints and you can probably smoke a cigar as you drive your Bentley up the hill. Really. I'm not kidding, I think that would be fine. The idea is that you can drive old cars with no safety gear and you accept the responsibilty for failure. But, that fire suit thing. Old cars are basically firetraps. But where is my suit? I have my boots, gloves, HANs and helmet, but I distinctly remember leaving my suit in the hallway... In Seattle. 200 miles and four hours away.

Ugh. 

We jump to problem solving mode. If we can go back to the campsite we can get cell signal and try and find a suit. We mumble something about needing to spend more time prepping and bail on the parade to the car show and blast back to the campsite. My incredible crew manages to find an e-tailer in Portland who is willing to sell me a suit out of his garage on a Saturday. 

I want to specifically call out Ronnie at Product 41. If you're in Portland and you need race gear or data logging you really should be supporting him. He had a bunch of fire suits in different ratings and sizes and sorted us out. So good. Can't recommend enough, he's at https://product41.com

So, we had a suit, and our worries were over. Right? Just had to head back to camp, and run the next day. Right?

Hah. Physics.

So, the competition day dawned. We got up, scrambled some eggs on the grill. Wiped the camp crud out of our eyes, and headed to the venue. I was almost out of gas in the racecar, and I don't like to run it dry. So we put half a tank of 'premium' into it at a EZ-trip chain gas station in Biggs, Oregon.

 

And then everything started to go wrong

At first, it was a good day. The air temps were very low, but it was pleasant and no rain was forecast. I was a bit worried that it was so cold, the car tends to overboost in dense air. But I didn't think much of it. Things went slowly and casually, it was a SOVREN event. I stuffed myself into my safety gear and lined up for my first run.

I can only be subjective about how the car was running, I'm not a computer. I do know I kept running out of gear, which is weird because we switched to a 3.6:1 rear end from 4.1:1 rear end, and yet I was having to shift earlier. The car was stupid fast. About halfway up the hill the car starts to ping. It feels just like running on California 91 octane, but much worse. I back off and finish the run at a reasonably competitive pace. Ugh. As soon as I get down the hill I pull like 5 degrees of timing at the top of the map, add a half point of fuel and reduce the boost duty table by a few percent.

It's not enough.

My second run, I shift into fifth on the straight and it's just too much. Too much torque, too much timing, too much cold air, too much terrible Oregon shady water gas. My changes to the tune aren't enough. I can't pinpoint the exact moment the rods distorted, but it doesn't matter. As I brake after the straight, I can hear a death rattle from the motor. Still, it's running. I limp it up the hill at severely reduced speed.

My mind is working through the potential outcomes, and it's not great. Still.

The engine runs. 

There's a clunking sound with each crank rotation which is almost certainly the crank counterweight scuffing against the piston skirt. It's not fatal. The crank case is still intact, and the bearings all seem fine. There's a deeply unpleasant noise, but one of the other drivers pulls my cam cover oil filler for me and the noise doesn't change. Not a bearing issue. I grit my teeth and drive the car the 3 miles to the camp site.

Now what? The miata isn't going to make it 200 miles back to Seattle. I don't have a way to get it back.

But... our crew vehicle is a Range Rover Sport. All we have to do is drive back to Seattle, install the trailer wiring kit that we happen to have on hand from Atlantic British due to random chance, rent a trailer, and come back to the state park where the broken racecar is. Sure! Fine! Right?

Sometimes things work out. Like, after all the random failures we had all weekend, it was crazy to just install the wiring kit in the Rover and just have it work. Plus the seats in it are amazing.

We drive home. We rent a Uhaul trailer. I install the wiring kit. It works perfectly. We drive down to the gorge. Nothing breaks. 

The race car is home. 

I need to regroup. I'm clearly struggling with boost pressures on the BP. I need to build a bottom end, and I'm fine with that. 

I still don't feel like the car has let me down. It's still the answer. I swear.

Jesse Ransom
Jesse Ransom UltimaDork
10/5/21 11:26 p.m.

Good job on telling that story. All that mayhem and I still feel jealous...

ValourUnbound
ValourUnbound Reader
10/6/21 3:49 p.m.

I've been missing your thread! 

It's one of my favorites because I have been to many of the same places. Biggs Junction, Maryhill state park, etc. I typically get gas at Chevron down the highway, but still. Sure beats reading about the 10 racetracks within 30 minutes that the East coast appears to have...

Can't wait to read about the resurrection!

dr_strangeland
dr_strangeland Reader
10/7/21 9:11 a.m.

From now on, I too will be getting gas at the Chevron down the highway.

Thanks for the support. Makes the effort worthwhile. I didn't really post in 2020 because it was an awful time for me, and I kind of stopped participating in forums or social media. I'm really glad to be running the car again and having stuff to post about!

I've been reading endless threads about part selection for built BPs. Still haven't fully decided how serious I want to go on the build. My feeling right now is get low compression pistons, Chinese rods, and call it a day. It's not clear to me at what point I need to move to aftermarket fasteners in the bottom end. It feels like people do them just because they're upgrading everything else, or maybe they become a weak point at 400whp? Still trying to understand.

java230
java230 UberDork
10/7/21 9:59 a.m.

I know nearly nothing about BP's, but if I was doing a rebuild, and thinking I needed lower comp pistons for the boost, I would certainly look at upgraded fasteners. They cant be that much more $ (maybe?) and your already in there. It would certainly suck to "need" them shortly after a new rebuild.

dr_strangeland
dr_strangeland Reader
10/8/21 8:16 a.m.

That's my thinking too. A set of ARP main studs is $100, which is less than 1 forged piston.

I think it's worth it.

java230
java230 UberDork
10/8/21 10:24 a.m.

In reply to dr_strangeland :

For $100?! Absolutely. 

bgkast
bgkast PowerDork
10/8/21 10:38 a.m.

Sorry to hear about your engine. I came out to spectate and stayed at the the camp ground just to the west. I think I remember seeing your car when I drove through the state park campground to check out all of the hardware.  It was a good event and I am planning on coming back (hopefully to drive it someday).

dr_strangeland
dr_strangeland Reader
10/15/21 4:29 p.m.

It was great to see so many spectators this year. It's also possible to come and hang out at the pits, there were a lot more people there this year. Seeing the old cars launch is great fun.

I'm almost certain that if you were at Maryhill state park you would have seen the car. The ranger was really kind about leaving it there, so that's where it was parked for an extra day. It's hard to miss! That park was awesome, if you see us there again, come say hi.

You can also consider the NHA events, there are two of them each year, it's about $100 less and you run for two days instead of one. You do have to work, though, which is really not bad. It's mostly sitting on a folding chair and working the radio.

 

So... I tore down the 1994 motor that I pulled out last year. This happened when I hit boost cut at 240 kPa and stupidly had it set to spark cut. It's now set to both, but really moving it upward was the ticket.

None of the rods are truly straight. There's no evidence of detonation, although I know it happened once or twice. Bearings look perfect. Crank is within factory spec, and looks really good. 

I ordered rods, bearings, pistons and gaskets. Main studs are already here. Plan is to overbore to 84mm, line bore mains and call it a day. I can't decide if I should put a bunch of money into the head or just run it. The head is quite fresh. Ugh. I feel like it will become another 'while I'm in there' thing.

dr_strangeland
dr_strangeland Reader
10/15/21 6:15 p.m.

OMG I finally went from 'New Reader' to 'Reader'!

I'm so legit. I need to post more.

bgkast
bgkast PowerDork
10/15/21 8:49 p.m.

Banana rods!

dr_strangeland
dr_strangeland Reader
10/16/21 3:02 p.m.

Hahaha!

I think the 1999 motor will be even more bananas. I will try and pull that next week. I don't know what boost we were running at the hill, and I'll never know, but likely right at the outer limits of the GT2560R compressor map.

dr_strangeland
dr_strangeland Reader
11/23/21 7:55 p.m.

Engine parts are here! I have everything I need except head studs which are still backordered everywhere.

I need to figure out where to take the block locally, too. 

AClockworkGarage
AClockworkGarage Dork
11/23/21 10:22 p.m.

I probably should tell you I measured the crank wrong as a joke.

dr_strangeland
dr_strangeland Reader
11/25/21 4:43 p.m.

Jokes on you, that wasn't even a BP crank!

Silliness aside, I was very happy with the shape the crank is in, and the rest of the bottom end in general.

That reminds me, need to find bolts to block off the oil squirters. I've read a million threads and decided against running them.

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