Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
7/8/20 11:13 a.m.
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Let's talk about failure. It’s inevitable in endurance racing. Whether your trailer has GRM or Roush on its side, you’ll experience it eventually.

And, well, we experienced failure racing our Fox with the TireRack.com ChampCar Endurance Series at Daytona International Speedway during the July 4 IMSA weekend. Sure, there was some success–like 71 laps, three drivers, and four hour’s worth–but we still found ourselves packing up the trailer well before the checkered flag. This is the story of planned success, inevitable failure, and a team that decided they’d do it all over again in an instant. 

Read the rest of the story

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
7/8/20 11:34 a.m.

noddaz
noddaz UltraDork
7/8/20 12:59 p.m.

I think the answer here is a 1.8t and trans out of a  1999 Passat.  No one will be able to tell, all VW engines look the same.  wink  Or better yet, paint a Passat white and put a Fox badge on it.  No one will ever know.

Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard Publisher
7/8/20 2:15 p.m.

Nice story Tom.

Two things... why didn't you go across the street and buy a battery for the car?

And second, we need to make it clear to readers that this is our Lemons car and not our ChampCar. The aforementioned V6 Miata we are building, will be a competitive ChampCar.

We had a last minute opportunity to join in the fun, when ChampCar joined the IMSA weekend and couldn't resist, but the only car we had ready to go was the Fox.

There's fire. Hot fire. 

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/8/20 2:27 p.m.
Tim Suddard said:

why didn't you go across the street and buy a battery for the car?

 

Something about throwing good money after bad? (I keed I keed!)

But more seriously, it is possible that a bad battery lead to cooling fans and such not being as effective as they should be? Or low system voltage tricking the ecu into mis-reading sensors and sending incorrect timing/fueling values? It probably wouldn't be bad enough to not run, but it could certainly push into "not great". And at WOT you're probably not using the o2 sensors at all, rather jumping into hard coded maps based on ECT sensor and MAF. So engine might have been running quite a bit leaner than it should have been because of false sensor reading because low battery. "A bit lean" for 3-4 hours at WOT straight could become an issue.

At the very least the low battery would cause a big drag on the engine since the alternator would be working at full steam the whole time trying to charge it. 

Bill Strong
Bill Strong New Reader
7/8/20 2:53 p.m.

In reply to Tim Suddard :

All I keep reading are excuses .. I really believe you guys could have won this race if you had started it a week earlier!  

Thanks for choosing to race with us guys! It was fun watching you from the air conditioned tower booth.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
7/8/20 3:39 p.m.
Robbie (Forum Supporter) said:
Tim Suddard said:

why didn't you go across the street and buy a battery for the car?

 

Something about throwing good money after bad? (I keed I keed!)

But more seriously, it is possible that a bad battery lead to cooling fans and such not being as effective as they should be? Or low system voltage tricking the ecu into mis-reading sensors and sending incorrect timing/fueling values? It probably wouldn't be bad enough to not run, but it could certainly push into "not great". And at WOT you're probably not using the o2 sensors at all, rather jumping into hard coded maps based on ECT sensor and MAF. So engine might have been running quite a bit leaner than it should have been because of false sensor reading because low battery. "A bit lean" for 3-4 hours at WOT straight could become an issue.

At the very least the low battery would cause a big drag on the engine since the alternator would be working at full steam the whole time trying to charge it. 

rcutclif

Our battery was actually fine—quick diagnosis showed that our starter was the real problem, which is why we decided to just bump-start the car for the day. I'll update the story to clarify. 

And I doubt the car was running lean due to an electrical issue—like I said, the battery was fine, and we did dyno pulls beforehand all the way up to 220 degree coolant temps to make sure our AFRs would stay healthy when drafting. Perhaps the failing fuel pump was bad long before we knew it, but I think this was a simple case of too much abuse on too worn of an engine. 
 

Crappy cars really do make good stories. 

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
7/8/20 4:04 p.m.
Bill Strong said:

In reply to Tim Suddard :

All I keep reading are excuses .. I really believe you guys could have won this race if you had started it a week earlier!  

Thanks for choosing to race with us guys! It was fun watching you from the air conditioned tower booth.

Bill Strong

Thanks for having us! It's a huge testament to ChampCar that even with this turd of a car, we were able to run Daytona and even have a somewhat competitive class to race in! We'll definitely be back with a proper entry. 

Chesterfield
Chesterfield Reader
7/8/20 4:05 p.m.

I think this chassis was produced in South America with the aircooled flat 4, which has decent history of endurance racing in some pretty harsh environments (baja 1000).  Maybe, you should try a more archaic engine technology. I am sure that it would be interesting, and might get a good laugh from the tech inspectors. Just a crazy thought exercise, I might be getting a little loopy from too much time stuck in the house.

tba02
tba02
7/8/20 7:57 p.m.

All crapcan options aside, I think this is probably closest to the truth - 
"Perhaps the failing fuel pump was bad long before we knew it"

And that lead to a lean condition which provided cascading effects that lead to the demise of all things VW/Fox that day.

 

Honsch
Honsch New Reader
7/8/20 8:00 p.m.

Too bad the motor E36 M3 the bed.

If you pop the head off you can see if the pistons are melted.  If they are it was probably the fuel pump that killed it.

I'm going to get some Nord-locks for our Fox since they seemed to work.

Now is it time for an ABA?

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
7/8/20 8:35 p.m.

In reply to Honsch :

Yeah, I didn't have time to tear the car down any further now (need to get moving on other projects) but once we resuscitate this project down the road I'll definitely pull it apart and see what really happened.

As far as what's next—we don't know yet. I have a spare 1.8 sitting here ready to drop in, but the team has kicked around everything from an air-cooled swap (yes, we came up with that independently, we're pretty twisted) to a Subaru EJ20 and trans. We'll probably skip the easy ABA route and do something stupid for the sake of writing an interesting story. Or we'll just rotary swap it, because I didn't learn my lesson with the turbo rotary Miata.  

Oh, and the Nord-Locks worked perfectly. The nuts didn't budge at all. Here's what we used from McMaster-Carr:

Line   Product Ordered Delivers Price Total
1 91074A328 Zinc-Flake-Coated Steel Wedge Lock Washer for M20 Screw Size, 0.840" ID, 1.540" OD, packs of 2
Honsch
Honsch New Reader
7/8/20 11:52 p.m.

You could go modern 1.8t/Passat B5 transmission.  We've done the trans swap so we know all the ins and outs.  It's got great gear ratios and if you're willing to do a little lathe work you can put a Quaife LSD in it. 

Thanks for the part numbers, we'll see of we can get McMaster to ship to Canada.

sergio
sergio Reader
7/9/20 12:15 a.m.

In reply to Tom Suddard :

Helium in the tires and you would have won your class. 

Matt_B
Matt_B New Reader
7/9/20 11:22 a.m.

I was Corner Working in Turn 1, car looked really good coming through there.

 

Did you guys get to take part in the pandemonium in the first rain?  We counted at least 10 off in turn 4, and then at least 8 off under full course yellow in turn 1.  

DirtyBird222
DirtyBird222 UberDork
7/9/20 2:34 p.m.

It was great seeing you guys out there. I was happy to see you on track a few times in the first stint. We had our own issues that likely prevented us from a solid finish. 

Issue 1 - Lap 1/Turn 1 the brake pedal went to the floor. One of us forgot to put the shims back in on the left front brake caliper which screws everything up. Easy fix but that immediately dropped us pretty far down. We got back on track for 3 more stints before....

Issue 2 - the right front wheel bearing (likely an Autozone part with at least 90 hours of racing on it) finally let go. It destroyed the brake ducting and axle boot in the process. It did so right as the first red flag came out which gave me time to call and travel to six different auto parts stores in the area that all claimed to have a bearing; but, upon arrival did not have it in stock (except for the sixth and final store). The guys had disassembled everything, gotten a new axle in, and threw the hub on ice. When I arrived back we caveman hammered the new bearing on and got the car back on track for another stint before......

Issue 3 - the screws in the distributor backed themselves out and destroyed itself. 10 minute fix and we were back on track for the rest of the race. We clawed back to 42nd overall and 4th in B class. 

I'm happy we finished as Daytona has been a nemesis of ours. We've blown clutches (replaced in under two hours), engines, axles, Randy Pobst has run us off the track in the bus stop in his Volvo, and had harmonic balancer fall off on the last lap in which we pushed the car across the finish line on pit road. We were so happy to finish under power! 

drsmooth
drsmooth HalfDork
7/9/20 3:48 p.m.

In reply to DirtyBird222 :

Best Livery Ever!

Typ85
Typ85 New Reader
8/7/20 2:26 a.m.

Tom

Been watching your build since the beginning, being an old school Audi guy, alot of the parts are interchangeable wth the Audi 4000's.

Also, I have a buddy that's is a VW fox enthusiast (Greg wood), he knows all when it comes to what Audi parts are compatible with your Fox (engine, trans, axles, suspension, brakes, etc).

Let me know if you want me to reach out him so he can contact you.

Thanks!

Dan G.

PS, Wallens did an article on my '84 coupe in the Oct. 2006 edition of your magazine!

Typ85
Typ85 Reader
9/25/20 1:16 a.m.

Tom, I track a modified Audi 5cyl with almost double the stock power, I still run the stock radiator (not much bigger that yours and it's mounted on the side of the engine like on your fox)!

Two things will make a big difference in cooling your engine;

1. tight ducting all the way around the radiator, seal up any leaks (see pic below)

2. install the biggest oil cooler you can fit behind the grill, you'd be surprised how much this will help overall engine temps, I bet your engine failed because of sky high oil temps. 

Also, make sure the radiator is clean and not clogged, install an oil temp gauge, get the coolest thermostat you can find and the coolest fan switch (probably uses the same version I have).

There's no reason you should see such high temps with a close to stock engine, especially at a high speed track like Daytona!

 

 

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