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Stampie (FS)
Stampie (FS) MegaDork
10/30/20 9:57 p.m.

I returned the perfect Miata today.  Felt bad as the remains of Zeta got it all dirty and a bird E36 M3 on the roof.  Then I stole the seat out of it but at least I installed his normal driver's seat.  I owe Michael a car wash and a big hug.  Make I'll let him leg hump me.

Stampie (FS)
Stampie (FS) MegaDork
10/31/20 1:49 p.m.

In the Michael tradition of wrap up post here's Stampie Challenge 2020 edition.

When Michael first offered the Miata I was real hesitant.  One I knew what the car meant to him and if anything happened to it I would feel bad like forever.  But then it came down to a questionable transmission Honda I called him and accepted his offer.

Plan was to drive up to NC the weekend before the Challenge.  Michael thought it would take us a couple of hours of work to get it back to Challenge shape that Saturday morning then head back to FL that afternoon.  Typical for Michael he couldn't wait and ended up spending a lot of time preparing it himself.  We arrived and went over the car pretty quickly and headed down the road.  He kept telling me to drive it on the road but with Lil Stampie going back to school that we I just didn't have the time.

That Thursday after lunch I hooked up the Miata and headed to pick Lil Stampie at school.  We did our normal Publix stop right before the hotel and then arrived at the Mecca of Grassroots Motorsports aka Best Western Gateway Grand Gainesville, FL.  As normal we did a little walking around and looking at cars and a few drinks with fellow Challengers.  I did think it was funny as I went back to the room I noticed the hood open on the Miata.  I guess someone wanted to see how clean the GM 3400 swap was.

I sent the alarm for 5:30 and went to bed.  At 6:00AM I woke to my normal alarm and discovered that I had set the 5:30 alarm for PM.  Opps but we still had plenty of time and arrived at the track still on time.  We swapped over the wheels to the autocross and hit tech.  It's been discussed but with Tom's absence tech reverted back to sign a form and slap the tech sticker on.  In their defense I had everything open and my jacket and helmet sitting out so maybe it was a hey obviously this guy knows what he's doing so he's good.  Guess I fooled them.

Lil Stampie is really itching to ride in the passenger floorboard and I guess I did need to test it some so we headed towards the end of the field where no one was around.  I did a hard start in first and spun through first and second.  Ok then this car has some power.  It's handling well even to the point that I push it intentionally past it's limits hard oversteer but recovers very quickly.

I did the first cone chasing stint in the morning with pimpm3.  I know he's a very good driver so I asked him to take it for a few runs.  If you've meet pimpm3 you'll know that he's very tall.  Unfortunately the seat we used isn't adjustable.  There's also a switch on the center console that controls both windows.  Half way though his first run he hit it by accident and reduced his room for his longer arms to steer.  After two runs he had our fastest time at 50.2 which after watching others run I was ok with.  I knew the car had more but at least we had a solid time logged.

I got with Dan Shields and asked him to do a few runs.  First run it cuts out on him at the far end.  Next run it cuts out at the finish.  Ok that's not good.  No gas gauge but we figure it's low so I run off to test the Saab 9-5 Aero Wagon and grab 5 gallons of gas.  We get back and fill it up while clouds start to roll in.  Dan was driving other cars so I waited our turn.  Just as Dan jumped in it the rain started.  He came back in from the run and confirmed my thought that there was no reason to run the car in the wet on slicks.  We called it and headed back to the pits.  Part of the Challenge is luck and I'm accepting of that but I think we left at least a couple of seconds on the autocross course.

Lil Stampie and I were hungry so we walked through the rain to the track grill.  The guy opens his window and says that he just closed but he'd see if he could get us something.  That poor man kept apologizing for taking long because it was just him left I felt so bad.  He got a good tip and I didn't even think twice about it.

Walking back we passed the staff and they said most likely drags would be moved to Saturday morning.  Concours would normally move to Friday night but because Covid some of the Judges wouldn't be arriving until Saturday also.  Woohoo let's do drags and Concours at the same time.  We ate our BBQ dinner and headed back to the hotel.  I thought about hanging out but decided that I needed rest more.  After looking at Saab porn online I called it a night.

Next morning we actually did get up at 5:30AM and after checking out of the hotel we headed to the track.  We get there at 7:20 but the gate isn't supposed to open until 8.  Hmmm gate is open ... better to ask forgiveness ... we head in.  We're the first team there and Lil Stampie reminds me that Michael said he could drive it.  Ok no one around and big huge empty parking lot.  I get in the passenger floorboard and we take off, at 10mph in first, and that never changes.  At least he can say he's driven a fast Miata even if he didn't drive it very fast.

I had noticed a clunk the day before that was getting worse.  Talking to Michael he felt it was the heim joint was the source.  Seems it had been pulled off a Corvette years ago  because of noise.  Figuring just an inspection and yep it's going bad we had waiting until now to really look at it.  Took off the rear passenger tire to swap drags and a quick look revealed a missing bolt.  That's not good.  My first thought was am I allowed to do repair work on a Michael creation?  Kurt was next to us and after I asked him for a bolt he handed me a tray full of them.  There on top was a bolt and nut the perfect size.  I go back to the car and I have a hard time getting the bolt through the differential bracket.  It fits the joint perfectly.  I guess maybe the bracket got damaged a little when it came apart.  Kurt has a drill and half inch bit.  By now I'm over the fear of ruining Michael's work of art and totally willing to take a drill to it.  Clean out the hole and bolt slides in perfectly.  Tighten it down and a quick drive says the clunk is gone.

We're ready for the drags and go to the staging lanes.  I planned on being the second run but the first guy lined up in the wrong lane so I end up running first.  I do the burn out and move up to trip the lights.  Then I move up more to trip the lights,  Then more, then wtf the lights aren't working.  So we sit there waiting for the track officials to get them going.  Finally they get us to stage and it's a go.  I'm wanting to do a "safe" run so no full on launch but it feels like a good run.  I get my slip and it's a 15.0 second run.  That's not what I expected.  Plan was safe run expecting mid 14's then a couple of more runs to see if I could improve so I could get into concours.  

I then spent the next 5 runs or so figuring out the right combo.  Too low rpm at launch and it bogs.  Too high and I get the run where I spun through first, rolled down the windows hitting second, missed third, somehow downshifted in trying to fix that and at the 1/8 mile I said berk this there ain't no saving this run.  I let off for a 19 second at 55mph run.  I finally settle into what I need to do.  3000rpm at the lights, drop the clutch, keep forearm high so it doesn't hit the window switches and distract me.  Firm positive shifts for the T5 transmission.  I get a couple of 14.5s but never get a full perfect run in.  I tell myself ok I'll do one more.  I line up, lights go green and I wait about 1/2 a second for a Patrick start.  Launch feels great.  At the 60 I tell myself don't berk up this run.  Shifts all go fine and I get the ticket with a 14.2.  Ok we're done.  I think maybe I could have gotten another 1/10th or so but not worth the time it would take.  Onto concours.

I pull in and decide to give Lil Stampie a break.  I switch over the tires and put the autocross wing back on.  LIl Stampie walks up and helps me finish with a quick cleaning.  I tell Nancy that we're ready as I can tell other cars are about to quit drags and head in.  I felt the presentation went well but it's hard presenting a car you didn't build.  This is also a hard car to present because it's a look at it for 2 hours and still notice new details car.  It's not a Oh look at me and this cool E36 M3 car.  So that done we push it out and head to the truck.  I really wish that was a rule.  One unnamed competitor decided to enter late and proceeded to rev their open exhaust while others were being judged.  I'm sorry you're still 5 and need everyone to look at you but act like an adult for a few minutes and so consideration for others.  Ok rant over.

We loaded up everything and grabbed the first of many items from Quasimofo.  We wait for the awards ceremony and thought everything ended up about how I expected.  Unfortunately we couldn't do the normal rush up front to see our place so off to the hotel to get more stuff from Curtis.  Now we're totally full and head back home.  Shortly after getting home I look up and right as I see we got 8th overall Michael text me with the same news.

Traditionally I do a what could be improved so let's do that.

We left time in the drags and autocross.  I think a couple of seconds at least in the autocross with better luck, adjustable seat, and getting crazy a full set of new A7s.  In the drags I think nitrous could have gotten us down to the mid 13s.  Any faster than that and it would need a cage.  Could those things be done?  Yeah there's some wiggle room in budget to do that.  Is it worth it?  Probably not.  Michael built it for the Challenge but with any eye for what he wanted afterwards.  It's a great semi daily that'll kick ass at the local autocross.  I did the Challenge numbers on what would happen with the above improvements.  The car would have moved up to around 5th.  It's a great car but I think it's place is that car Michael can jump into and just bring a smile to his face any day of the year not just two days in late October.

 

slowbird
slowbird SuperDork
10/31/20 2:05 p.m.

Nice writeup. The window switch saga made me laugh, maybe relocating those could be one of duster's post-challenge projects laugh

Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter)
Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
10/31/20 2:21 p.m.

In reply to slowbird :

It definitely is. as well as making the windows independent of each other and a few other things. 

 

Stampie: im sad i wasn't there, but glad as well! You guys gave me the chance it deserved. Thank you for running it, and being an awesome person. 

Stampie (FS)
Stampie (FS) MegaDork
10/31/20 5:52 p.m.
slowbird said:

Nice writeup. The window switch saga made me laugh, maybe relocating those could be one of duster's post-challenge projects laugh

I got pretty good at it.  Shift into 2nd windows start to go down, notice, oh E36 M3 need to shift, shift into 3rd, flick switch to roll windows up, shift into 4th, windows up put switch to middle position, hit 1/4 mile ok now hit switch to roll them down so I can get the time slip.  Yeah that's a lot to think about while trying to run the best 1/4 mile in a car like this.

Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter)
Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
11/13/20 5:02 p.m.

So, after smacking the deer last night,  i got the car prepped for a no aero autocross tomorrow. On the rs-rr tires. And sold the challenge wheels and tires. And permanently installed free stereo and amp, with free wiring and speakers. And put the ac back in. 

I like this car!

Well see how tomorrow goes. 

Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter)
Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
11/13/20 5:15 p.m.
Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter) said:

So, after smacking the deer last night,  i got the car prepped for a no aero autocross tomorrow. On the rs-rr tires. And sold the challenge wheels and tires. And permanently installed free stereo and amp, with free wiring and speakers. And put the ac back in. 

I like this car!

Well see how tomorrow goes. 

Damn deer. I about smacked one in glh last night. 

Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter)
Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
11/13/20 5:17 p.m.

Luckily this one was 1/4 hamburger by the time I hit it 

Stampie (FS)
Stampie (FS) MegaDork
11/13/20 5:34 p.m.

In reply to Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter) :

Hmmm what's this smacking a deer around stuff?  Did I miss something?

759NRNG (Forum Partidario)
759NRNG (Forum Partidario) UltraDork
11/13/20 5:43 p.m.

"So, after smacking the deer last night, " ......and I thought staring at blown head gaskets was a beeatch. At least you'll be indoors whereas I'll be outside in the driveway.... 

Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter)
Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
11/13/20 6:19 p.m.

Yeah,  hit a deer carcass last night. Destroyed the splitter,  cracked the air dam, damaged the side skirts, scuffed up some paint. 

Was NOT fun to do at 9pm/50mph....

Stampie (FS)
Stampie (FS) MegaDork
11/13/20 6:23 p.m.

In reply to Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter) :

Well E36 M3 but at least you're ok and all that can be fixed.

Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter)
Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
11/13/20 6:27 p.m.

Yeah, could have been FAR worse. Miata vs a heavy meat sack is not a way to win.....

Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter)
Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
11/14/20 9:41 a.m.

Scored a headlight for 50, and ducktail spoiler for 20 today. Still need to find soe other bits. But im closer!

untchabl
untchabl Reader
11/14/20 10:00 a.m.

Guessing the headlight I gave you awhile back was the wrong side?

Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter)
Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
11/14/20 10:03 a.m.

In reply to untchabl :

Yup. Go figure! However,  it and the replacement will be the basis for lighting upgrades. 

Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter)
Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
11/14/20 1:09 p.m.

So, i just couldn't get a clean run today. Spun it on every single run. 

Still had a good time,  and the highlight was talking to poopshovel on the phone while in grid. Made my day.

Sold the stock wheels and sm7s that were all used up in the challenge to a kid (17?) For his autocross miata. Nice family,  and i vaguely remember them from 2018 when i was testing aero and stuff.

Stereo is nice to have, and no unpleasantness from the car. I think its time for a short "fix it" list

Needs way better lighting 

Exhaust is too loud. Not illegal for the site, but close

Needs ac finished 

Needs aero back, and tge vented hood back on

Needs extended ball joints and a good alignment 

Needs oxygen sensor fixed

Needs another 1000 rpm in second gear 

Stampie (FS)
Stampie (FS) MegaDork
11/14/20 4:18 p.m.

In reply to Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter) :

From what little research I did after Challenge "they" say the engine can spin higher.  That new ECU and  HPtuners will give you a higher rev limit.  Maybe throw a cam and springs for a little extra power?

Justjim75
Justjim75 Dork
11/14/20 4:58 p.m.

Are you still running that huge homemade sway bar?  My autocross friend says they all run a giant front bar and no rear, but Allen McCrispin said he likes his cars to rotate and uses an adjustable rear bar (I think thats what he said) if that helps.  My car handled a ton better after using the FM settings for ride height (vmaxx clasics) and the closest the shop could get to the recommended alignments from FM and the Miata forums combined.  I had lots of rear bar and it was very drifty but that was fun as E36 M3 on the street to me which is where 95% of my miles came from

Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter)
Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
11/14/20 5:16 p.m.

I AM running the huge bar, and the reccomend ride height. However,  stock rear sway bar. Amd only 1.5 negative camber in the front, .5 rear. I think thats a large part of the problem

 

Justjim75
Justjim75 Dork
11/15/20 10:46 a.m.

At over 1 degree of neg camber in the rear (couldn't get that much up front until i lowered it) with stock rear bar and 205/50 all seasons my car stuck really good. Pushed like hell but the back was "unstuckable"  My final numbers after coilovers was (its been awhile) I believe 1.5 front and 1.7 rear and didn't start to rotate until I dialed the rear FM bar up to max effect

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
11/15/20 7:48 p.m.

In reply to Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter) :

If you get a pair of Bauer lower ball joints it should give you another 1-1.5* of camber up front. 

Somebeach (Forum Supporter)
Somebeach (Forum Supporter) Reader
12/26/20 8:33 p.m.

I just took some time readying through this thread over the last few days. It was great. What a cool car! Thanks for taking the time to document it all.

 

Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter)
Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
12/27/20 10:14 a.m.

In reply to Somebeach (Forum Supporter) :

You're welcome!

This car has been an absolute riot to own, and a great experience to build. 

Was going to take it to my brothers wedding today. But its in the low 30s and it doesn't really have a heater due to no thermostat. 

Instead,  i got the summer wheels turned silver instead of black. Look lot better. 

Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter)
Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
1/6/21 12:40 p.m.

I finally quit being cheap and bought an inline thermostat housing. 

Now to get it, the vent hood, duckbill, hid headlights,  etc installed! 

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