Saturday, October 31, 2009

Friday down... Race day here we come!

Holy shit it's cold... and wet

Friday went off without any notable hitches. We ended up with 39 cars showing up (2 didn't show).


I've seen many shark themes... MANY.. and this one takes first place in my book for creativity. The whole front end of the car was custom molded!

What crap can race would be complete without a star wars theme?

What to do with that damn parts car that's gathering moss in your backyard? Make a BBQ out of it of course! Nice work guys!

And yes, that's a Fiat X/19

Friday, October 30, 2009

Off to the races!

It's 8am... and were headed to the track!

Expanded coverage of the race will be posted here! Stay tuned!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Test Drive! Wow it's loud...

Ignore the first 2 minutes.. this is the first time i've gotten our camera to work.. Turns out HDD cameras don't like being in cars. Scored 2 8 gig memory cards for my DCR-SR85. Success!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

ChumpCar Portland: T-minus 10 days

The inaugural ChumpCar race at Portland International Raceway is now 10 days away... and are we ready? Yeah right...

Current items on the To-do list:

-Fix oil cooler (JB Weld?)
-Finish motor break-in
-Install radios
-Mount / balance spare tires on spare wheels (yes, we bought spare wheels for $125 on craigslist)
-Diagnose and fix water leak? (Erik fails at soldering)
-Mount lightbar
-Wire headlights
-Tape headlights
-Change oil
-Bleed brakes
-Finish windmill 2.0
-Install "boost gauge"
-Find another windshield wiper
-Replace wiper blades (because if we don't, its going to rain)

Monday, October 19, 2009


For anyone that actually follows my blog, and give a shit about what I post.... this is for you

Windmill 2.0 Teaser


Holy crap it runs... sorta...

Actually, it runs pretty well above 4k rpm. With the "aggressive" valve job performed by Erik (wait, let me clarify that neither of us had a CLUE what we were doing... when I say aggressive, I really mean Erik didn't know when to quit removing material), the car basically falls on it's face under 4k. I guess it's a good thing we run between 4k and 7k at race speeds.

We found 2 coolant leaks and diagnosed the wrong size o-rings... it turns out that removing the water pump takes about 10 minutes when you have giant holes in the side of your car.

Today, the car developed a pretty severe oil leak... it turns out our oil cooler was smacked when the motor was installed, so we have to go on a hunt to find a replacement. Our old one was a tranny cooler from an 87 Saab 9000 (anyone have one laying around?).

I hope no-one asks how we plan on "breaking in the motor"... because it might involve driving it up and down the road at full throttle. Break-in shmak-in

More progress

T-minus 1 weekend until the first ChumpCar event in our backyard!

Background: Remember our motor blew up at Buttonwillow? The block is toast. Fail. So we set out searching for a replacement motor, since our spare motor that we limped in on burned about a qt an hour. We found 2 4AGE's growing weeds at a dude's house in Clatskanie (read: BFE). For $300 we got 2 motors in "ran when pulled = who the hell knows" condition, and a spare transmission which I shortly thereafter needed a tetnis shot just to get the thing out of the truck. Who cares, this is crap-can racing!

2 ebay gasket sets later, we had 2 "rebuilt" motors. We had a die-grinder party with the two heads and made some low cost, high value performance upgrades! (port match, valve grind). Nothing professional, just sticking with the budget. A Makita cylinder hone, and a Makita valve lapping rounded out the remaining work on the two motors. Luckily, the internals were salvagable out of the two motors, so we didn't need to buy anything except the gasket sets. I wish I could tell you all this took place in a weekend, but with my travel schedule.. it took Erik and I about 3 weekends to do the poor-mans-rebuild.

Here we sit with 2 motors, 0 miles, and NO idea if they are going to work.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Windmill 2.0

Alright, the windmill powered supercharger was certainly interesting. The fan spun which charged the battery via an alternator which powered an "electric supercharger" which shoved air in to our intake. Overall performance gain? maybe 1/2 hp at idle, and it probably restricted our intake at WOT. Awesome? Yes! Effective? Not even close.

Enter Windmill 2.0

Details of this new engineering marvel have yet to be released (aka we're probably not sure what it's for yet). But I'll tell you one thing... It's twice as mean and twice as dangerous. I'm pretty sure this one would take off a finger at full speed.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

ButtonWillow aftermath

Wow... It's been umm... 5 months since buttonwillow? And I haven't TOUCHED the blog.... why?

Because Buttonwillow sucked.. big fat hillbilly ass...

Let me start by saying that Buttonwillow, CA is a LOT further in reality than it seems on google maps. Hell, it's only 300 more miles than Thunder hill... Holy crap the commute sucked! Since the weather forecast was set for a blistering 102 degrees on both race days, Free Range Racing came prepared! Thanks to Erik's grandparents, we were able to procure a 34' 5th wheel to take down to the race. AC? check! Water? check! Beds? check! would we have time to use any of those things? Nope..

It all started Friday afternoon during practice. Erik, Dave and I all had pretty good sessions on the track for warm-up but when I pulled in... we noticed a slight "ticking" coming from the top end of the motor. Assuming it was just valve noise, we send Christopher out on to the track. 20 minutes later... BOOM. Shit... really... shit...

Christopher managed to get back in to the pits, but the damage had already been done. What was the problem? No idea... It just didnt want to run anymore. We assumed the worse and started pulling the head about about 4pm Friday evening. 2 hours later, we had a visably blown motor. 18 hours until green flag.

Now the remaining 18 hours is a complete blur... Dave got way too drunk and passed out, Christopher braved the late night to keep Erik and I company, and to assist with the parts car motor pulling. I pulled the blown motor out of the car with help from the drunk passer-bys. I'd love to fill in all the lovely details about how much it sucked... but it's such a blur that I don't really care to recall it. We went to bed at 3am and were up by 6am back under the car.

Green flag! We're still in the pits.... at this point we knew the motor ran and we knew the timing was at least good enough to limp us through. 10am green flag, and we were out on the racetrack by about 11:30am. Hour and a half down... shit. Less than 10 laps later, Christopher came back in with a cooling issue. These MR2's are notorious for getting bubbles in the collant, so we assumed it would take a few laps to iron out the bugs. By 12:30pm, we were running strong(ish) and limping through on the unknown parts car motor. 83rd place. Awesome

By the end of Saturday, we worked out way back up to the 50's and managed to keep the car on the track for the rest of the day. At each driver change, we were putting in about a qt of oil in the car so we obviously had a HUGE leak somewhere.. Where? who cares... At the end of day 1, it was time for celebration.. not wrenching. Erik and I wondered around the pits, heckling anyone we came in contact with. Poor Metro-Gnomes.... sorry for pissing you off that night :)

Sunday came and went, Christpher had a couple black flags that landed us in the penelty box but overall we did pretty well. At the end of the race I think we were 36th. Considering we sat out about 2 hours in the beginning and were in every 10 laps for at least anohter 2 hours, we were happy. OK, maybe happy is not the right word... Content? Neutral? Pissed? Livid? OMGIWANTTOKILLSOMEONE? yeah, that one

It was fun, it was long, it sucked ass