Shavarsh
Shavarsh Reader
4/21/21 12:02 p.m.

In reply to Lof8 - Andy :

No, its a pinto. Hopefully the same boost in braking confidence applies though!

Lof8 - Andy
Lof8 - Andy SuperDork
4/27/21 7:47 p.m.

A few cool things recently.  Hit the St Pete Grand Prix with my Dad, brother, and nephew, Isaac. The Robby Gordon trucks are always the highlight of the show for me!


my dad is super "frugal."  I don't think he's bought himself a pair of shoes in about 20 years.  He just asks my brother and I to donate our old shoes to him.  Well this pair gave up the ghost while walking around the Grand Prix, lol!

our Lemons team got together at a Tampa brewery, where one of the members hosts a monthly car meet. We practiced and got pretty good at driver changes. There were some unique rides at the show. 


 

I did another Monday track day this week and got to put in some laps in the Lemons Civic. It felt pretty solid, so I feel good for the upcoming race. 
 

the e36 had its best day on track ever!  I've always struggled with my heel/toe technique but I watched some YouTube videos and realized my problem was my timing of the throttle blip. I had always blipped the gas a little too early. So after focusing on the timing for about 2 laps, it all came together.  It was a glorious moment and my fun level jumped up significantly!  The new tires, brakes, and down shifting technique combined for a 3 second drop in my best lap time at the Firm - pretty significant at that little track! It really felt great, without any weak points to address before it goes out next time!

and the last item of note is this hilariously ironic gold plated Harbor Freight ratchet.  I find it so ridiculous, I had to grab one!  It was the only one left at my local store. 

Petrolburner
Petrolburner Dork
5/1/21 9:34 p.m.

Cool!  How much was the ratchet?  I recently splurged on a Craftsman gun metal 3/8" drive ratchet with 120 teeth.  The action is so smooth and if you only have a few degrees to move the handle it still works.  

thashane
thashane New Reader
5/1/21 10:46 p.m.

In reply to Lof8 - Andy :

Is the ratchet staying in the box, or going into service?

Lof8 - Andy
Lof8 - Andy SuperDork
5/2/21 7:05 p.m.

The ratchet was $65. I plan to just keep it in the box as a conversation piece and display of ridiculousness.  They're listed on eBay for $100 or more but not sure if they're actually selling at that price. One day, I'll cash it in for early retirement. 

Lof8 - Andy
Lof8 - Andy SuperDork
5/10/21 2:15 p.m.

The Lemons race was a huge success!  Our little civic ran perfectly for the entire weekend. It was incredibly predictable and easy to drive at the limit and quite fast!  I enjoyed it more than Champcar since the level of competition is a bit less crazy.  All of the guys on the team met through our local rallycross region and were great to be around the whole weekend.  We even had a couple of rallyx guys volunteer to hang out the whole time and be the fuel team for pitstops so that the drivers didn't have to worry about fueling.  Great dudes!

we cranked out consistent 3:00-3:10 laps and ended up in 11th out of 57 entries. The only casualty was a rear engine mount we changed at the end of day 1. Can't wait to do it again!

Lof8 - Andy
Lof8 - Andy SuperDork
5/13/21 6:51 p.m.

Firm rallyx on Saturday!  10 sxs signed up and a home-built crosskart!!

Lof8 - Andy
Lof8 - Andy SuperDork
5/18/21 9:51 a.m.

Took home the overall at the rallyx. Super fun!  The 4th event of the rallyx series is the same day as the $2k challenge, so that kind of sucks. I'll have to choose the rally to try and close out the season win. 
 

the crosskart wasn't as much of a threat as I thought it might be.  His 2wd, lack of suspension travel, and tire choice were all contributing factors and he was the slowest in class. My closest competition was the RS1 single seater sxs. The driver has a fair bit of racing experience and his machine was very dialed. He had the fastest lap of the day, but of course rally scores using the total time of all stages combined. 



Jonathan Whitaker, who is also a $2k challenger, came out to the rallyx with his YXZ and had a blast!  He made a cool YouTube video to document it as well. 
 

 

thashane
thashane New Reader
5/21/21 7:50 p.m.

In reply to Lof8 - Andy :

Nice work! Wonder if Whitakers radiator is packed with mud, or if a fan override would help

Lof8 - Andy
Lof8 - Andy SuperDork
5/21/21 7:57 p.m.

In reply to thashane :

That's possible. They can look clean from the front but have dirt packed on the back side. I think his plan is to buy or build brackets to rear-mount the stock radiator. 

Lof8 - Andy
Lof8 - Andy SuperDork
5/22/21 9:23 p.m.

SCCA put on a great one today!  Nice long runs and relatively efficient with the time!


 

 

crankwalk (Forum Supporter)
crankwalk (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
5/23/21 12:23 p.m.

Nice! That thing was flying.

Lof8 - Andy
Lof8 - Andy SuperDork
5/23/21 5:47 p.m.

In reply to crankwalk (Forum Supporter) :

Thanks!  She is quick!

Lof8 - Andy
Lof8 - Andy SuperDork
6/1/21 1:58 p.m.

The Florida summer is pretty brutal and the heat and humidity in the shop is nearly unbearable. So, I'm putting in a 3 ton mini split.  I'm hoping it can make a significant difference without adding expensive spray foam insulation. I guess we'll see how it goes. 

and a few more pics from St Lucie 

Greg Voth
Greg Voth Dork
6/3/21 7:37 a.m.

Keep us updated on the AC. My metal building has the batt insulation but I am thinking of putting in a mini split as well. 

Also nice running into you guys at the Gambler. 

Lof8 - Andy
Lof8 - Andy SuperDork
6/15/21 7:50 p.m.

In reply to Greg Voth :

Indeed!  Very fun chatting at the Gambler!  
Finally got this mini split all set up and running. It pulls a ton of humidity out of the air.  Before I had the condensate pump hooked up, it could fill a 5 gallon bucket in about 2 hours or so.  It takes about an hour of running full blast before you start to notice much change in temperature and after about 3 hours the interior humidity and temp are significantly more comfortable than outdoors.  I'll just need to think ahead a bit when I plan to do some garage work.  Overall, I'm pretty pleased with the results. It's a 3-ton Lennox unit that I got through an hvac engineer friend.  The unit cost a little over $2k, I did the wiring myself, and paid an hVAC installer $800 to run the copper and charge it up.  I'm sure some spray foam insulation would benefit the efficiency, but I'll see how it goes through the summer and maybe consider some foam next year. 

Lof8 - Andy
Lof8 - Andy SuperDork
7/12/21 1:34 p.m.

Been a while since I added any updates.  The last SCCA rallyx was at the Firm.  I usually skip the SCCA firm events because we are relegated to a section of the firm venue that is super smooth and rather small.  There's just no comparison to the events that the firm hosts on their own, and it's a 3 hour tow.  But I was getting antsy for some race action and decided to make the trip.  I coaxed swmbo into it with a night stay in St Augustine Beach before the event.  We stayed in the cargo trailer/camper/hauler conversion thing at the local KOA and brought the bicycles.  We did a little bar hopping on the bikes and had a good time.  Ignore my crazed look in the beach photo!

The sticker collection is growing.

At the Firm, there was a new SXS competitor I had not met before - that's exciting!  I went over and introduced myself.  Turns out we had competed once before at the Gambler 500 HooptieX event.  He had held the top position at the HooptieX event all day until I got back from the trail riding, at the end of the day, and snaked the win from him by just a few seconds.  We had not met that day, but I knew anyone who was within a few seconds of me on that crazy course was no pushover.  He had added a turbo to his Honda Talon since the hooptieX - this was going to be interesting!   Our times were extremely close!  He had me by about a second in each of the (3) morning runs.  I pushed harder in the afternoon and, although I was barely quicker than him in each of the afternoon runs, he still beat me overall.  So, a little disappointed in getting beat, but very happy to have some competition at the SCCA events.  Hopefully he continues to come out!

Last weekend, I was at the Bushnell go kart track doing some laps with my Lemons team and ran into fellow GRM'er and buddy, Tucker (dyintorace on the forum).  He asked if I would be going to the $2000 Challenge this year and I told him my disappointment that it falls on the same day as the last rallyx of the Firm's season series.  Since he lives in Gainesville, he offered to let me store a trailer/vehicle at his place in order to help me compete in both events in the same weekend!  I had not considred that to be an option, but it's now a goal to compete in both the Firm rallyx and the GRM $2000 Challenge in the same weekend!  Should be a fun time!

dyintorace
dyintorace PowerDork
7/13/21 12:45 p.m.
Lof8 - Andy said:

Last weekend, I was at the Bushnell go kart track doing some laps with my Lemons team and ran into fellow GRM'er and buddy, Tucker (dyintorace on the forum).  He asked if I would be going to the $2000 Challenge this year and I told him my disappointment that it falls on the same day as the last rallyx of the Firm's season series.  Since he lives in Gainesville, he offered to let me store a trailer/vehicle at his place in order to help me compete in both events in the same weekend!  I had not considered that to be an option, but it's now a goal to compete in both the Firm rallyx and the GRM $2000 Challenge in the same weekend!  Should be a fun time!

It was great to see you! And I'm stoked that you're going to do the double. That will be epic!!

thashane
thashane Reader
7/14/21 11:23 p.m.

In reply to Lof8 - Andy :

sounds like a valid justification to turbo...

Lof8 - Andy
Lof8 - Andy SuperDork
7/15/21 6:59 a.m.
thashane said:

In reply to Lof8 - Andy :

sounds like a valid justification to turbo...

Lol.  I'm actually really happy with the power it puts down in NA form and I really don't want the added cost, complexity, heat, and driveline stress that comes with a turbo.  I did have my wife riding shotgun with me that day and my tires are definitely not ideal for that smooth slick surface we were running on, but I don't like making excuses.  I just needed to drive a little bit better!! :)

Lof8 - Andy
Lof8 - Andy SuperDork
7/18/21 7:15 p.m.

A local racing buddy of mine invited my wife and I to Nashville this weekend to watch the Tony Stewart SRX season finale at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway, a track I've never been to.  The race was pretty fun to watch and the facility was unique and historic.  The series is certainly designed around the TV presentation with lots of intentional caution flags to bunch the field, but cool to see a bunch of accomplished racers nonetheless. 

but the real highlight of the weekend for me was finding and exploring the abandoned Riverview Speedway outside Nashville. It's been closed since 2005 and is currently for sale for $599k.  The place was wide open, so I did a few laps with the rental!  
 


the place is really in good shape for having sat so long!  Hopefully someone can save it before it's too far gone.  The banking at this place was incredible!  Way more steep than any other short track I've seen before. 
 

googled image:


 

also collected the Champcar miata from one of my teammates who needed more space at his garage. Hopefully it's racing days are not over - it's been a year and a half or so since this thing has seen any action.  

Petrolburner
Petrolburner Dork
7/19/21 12:37 a.m.

Can't believe that track wasn't all locked up! That had to be a good time in the best race car ever, a rental car.  

Lof8 - Andy
Lof8 - Andy SuperDork
7/19/21 7:18 a.m.

In reply to Petrolburner :

Man, the little Chevy Spark was pretty fun to drive!  Not much bigger than a go kart.  The track did have some debris in a few spots and the tiny little all-season tires didn't offer a lot of grip, so I was being cautious not to put the thing in a wall, but it was a total blast ripping a few laps!  The banking was just crazy, almost disorienting after a few laps.  I was almost sure the banking was at least equal to Daytona, but turns out I was wrong on that.  Wife googled 21 degrees at Riverview and 31 at Daytona.

There was some evidence that the track was probably locked up at some point, but there were no signs posted and no locked gates on this day.  Sadly, the structures have seen some vandalization that will make more work for anyone who might buy the property.

Lof8 - Andy
Lof8 - Andy SuperDork
8/3/21 11:45 a.m.

A few months back, I watched a YouTube video from sxsBlog, where they "punished" some of their crew by making them take a Smartcar on some atv trails. Everyone was blown away by how well the thing did on the trails! Including me.  They're small enough to fit in my trailer/camper, so my wife and I decided a Smartcar would be our next Gambler500 rig. I began "casually" (religiously) checking fb marketplace for deals. I drove to Miami to check one that was just too far gone. But I picked this one up in Daytona last weekend. It needs some work, but that's part of the fun!  Abandoned go kart track in the background of the photo below  

I've also been getting the circle track neon ready to return to racing. One of my long term goals is to race on every track in Florida!  As part of the prep, I ordered a new set of tires. I began to realize I'd like to put "these" tires on "those" wheels and "those" tires on "these" wheels etc etc. I was looking at about a $250 bill at the tire shop, so I looked into the HF manual tire changer. Those have mixed reviews and even the people who like the tool say it isn't easy or fun. So I bit the bullet and ordered a tire changer. 

 

"did you get a balancer too?"  No I didn't.  I've recently learned that track tires can slip significantly around the wheel during hard use. Along with tire wear and rubber chunks collected on track, a fresh balance is no longer balanced in short order.  So I've stopped balancing anything related to racing. My daily driver is 100% maintained by my employer and my wife drives like 2,000 miles per year. A balancer costs significant money and takes up significant space.  so I decided anything I deem needing balancing, I can bring to a shop, but the majority of my tires will be fine without. I'm excited!

Lof8 - Andy
Lof8 - Andy SuperDork
8/10/21 3:12 p.m.

TLDR - shocker! lifted, bed-linered smart car on atv mud tires is kind of a E36 M3box.  But I got it pretty cheap and it didn't take much money/time/work to get it up to snuff!

 

I'm going to rewind the smartcar story back to the purchase day.  The ad had the car listed at $4k, and according to the ad, it ran great!  I had gotten in touch with the seller right away because it already had the lift kit, wheel adapters, and off road tires I intended to install on one.  Within hours of putting up the ad, it was taken down.  Seller said he still has it but he's getting too many messages.  So I think to myself, "E36 M3, I need to get over to Daytona and pick this thing up."  Day of the meet up, seller says, "you're bringing a trailer, right?"  Indeed I was bringing a trailer, but why is that necessary if his car runs great??  He proceeds to tell me that it's in a limp mode.  In automatic trans mode, it won't go over 10 mph.  In manual/paddle mode, it drives "fine".  He says he has disconnected the ABS computer and thats putting it in limp mode.  If he reconnects the computer, it will be fine again.

Ok, berkeley it, I'm going to take a look.  We meet at his storage unit, he backs it out, and I hop in the passenger seat for him to give me a ride.  I want to feel the car now and then again after he "re-connects" the abs computer.  We pull out and all kinds of terrible creaks and moans come from the rear end of the car.  He says "ahh, the lift kit just needs to be tightened a bit."  I'm pretty familiar with whats involved in the lift kit and I know these noises are not related to it.  berkeley it, lets keep going.  the acceleration is dog slow terrible.  I ask him "are you flooring it?"  "no."  "ok, floor it!"  He pushes the pedal to the floor and the rate of acceleration is improved exactly none.  He says, "you know these things aren't fast, right?"  I do know they are not fast, but this is certainly slower than one thats running right.

At this point, I'm pretty set on walking away and sulking for the 3 hour ride home.  We get back to his storage unit and I tell him, "ok hook up that abs computer and lets see what changes."  He proceeds to grab a wire stripper and go behind the left front wheel.  I'm like, "what the hell are you doing?"  He says "my friend cut the abs sensors to disconnect the abs, I gotta splice the wires back together."  WTF!  This berkeleying thing is piece of E36 M3 and these people who hacked it together are morons.  I don't need him attempting any repairs whatsoever.

My wife has taken a look at the car by now but gone back to the a/c in the truck to let me deal with the guy.  I say to him, "theres no way I'm giving you $4k for this thing.  I'll give you 2."  He says "I have a list of 30 people in line behind you, the lowest I'll take is 3."  So 3 is where we settled.  He had a bunch of stuff set to the side that came with the car - a box with about 1/2 of the lift kit components that had not yet been installed, a pair of Big Horn tires for the front that match the rear and some stereo junk.  The front tires on the car were legit rally tires with nearly zero wear.  After the car was loaded and cash/title exchanged, I asked him how much he got it for.  He revealed that he's a flipper of sorts and only owned the car a few weeks.  He had purchased it locally for $800.  I was a bit disappointed to have missed the $800 opportunity.

After getting it home, the scanner revealed abs fault and cylinder 1 misfire.  The dumbass PO had cut both front abs/wheels speed sensors.  I believe that the mis-matched tire diameters had been playing some games with the car's computers and causing some kind of issues that the PO was trying to solve by cutting abs wires.  I ordered some fresh spark plugs and a smart-specific spark plug wrench and found a local guy parting a Smart for the abs wires. 

I found the head of the wheel lug bolts were a hair longer than the depth of the first piece of the wheel adapter, causing a gap between the two halves and some major creaking/groaning noises from the rear.  I ground the bolt heads down slightly to fix that.  Next step was to install the box of "leftover" lift kit components - front subframe spacers, rear shock spacers, steering shaft extender.  One of the POs had installed the absolute minimum to get the car higher and just left the rest of the pieces in the box.  I'm happy all the leftover parts were able to be accounted for.  Next step was to swap the front rally tires for the 26" Big Horns that matched the rear and install the new abs sensors.  I pulled it out of the driveway in auto mode (where it topped out at 10 mph during the test drive) and it climbed right on passed 10, on its way up to 45 ish in the neighborhood.  Woohoo!  

It still felt a bit sluggish, but way way better than during the test drive.  I brought it back to the garage and swapped in the new plugs.  Off again, and dang!  This thing is fun!  The automatic transmission is an "automatic manual".  The only thing I've ever felt like it was a big Penske box truck, where it feels like some servos are pressing a clutch and manually selecting gears for you.  Theres a solid second or more lag time where the next gear is being selected.  Its strange for sure.  The car is goofy fun.  The mud tires howl and drown out any engine noise and sound like a big redneck rig coming down the road.  Its hilarious!  Another bonus, I don't see any evidence of this thing actually being in any mud yet.

 

It will be getting a new paint job, but here she is, ready to Gamble:

 

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