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steronz
steronz Reader
10/15/13 9:22 a.m.

A weekend ago my ChumpCar team had made our 3rd unsuccessful attempt at running a crapcan weekend in our 86 Prelude. Not only did the engine give out on both days, but the homemade ex-Lemons roll cage attracted the ire and indignation of the tech staff, who had said nothing about the quality back in March but barely decided to let us race in October. In short, if we do this again next year, we're coming back with a better built and more reliable car.

That also means no more Lemons. Building to the spirit of the new ChumpCar rules, we can get something like an early-90s Integra, refresh the engine for reliability (oil/water pumps, metal head gasket, arp head studs, lightweight flywheel, baffled oil pan, aluminum radiator, oil cooler) and still be under budget. We'd also likely upgrade to Type-R brakes and some better shocks. I priced it out and a scratch build is somewhere in the $6-8k range, depending on how crazy we want to get replacing OEM suspension components. Or we can buy an ex-ITA car and remove some of the pricier bits.

But if we buy an ex-ITA car, we could just get our racing licenses and take turns racing it in ITA. Less seat time for sure, but it's not like we've gotten a lot of seat time rebuilding motors in paddocks this year.

People who have done both -- would it be worth spending an SCCA/NASA budget on a ChumpCar?

turboswede
turboswede UltimaDork
10/15/13 9:33 a.m.

Personally? Given the number of Honda engines I've seen fail at Chump events, I'd lean away from them. Then again I've seen a similar number of Ford small blocks fail as well (same failures, oil pump/distributor drive) however they all were able to make repairs and keep running, the Hondas all lost rods and had holes in the blocks.

That said, you can still run your full ITA car in Chump by running in the XP class. That way you get seat time and get used to the car and shake it down quite well before you start sprint racing it. You just won't be eligible for the trophies and monies, but most Chumps aren't anyway.

I had thought the cage requirements were pretty even between the two series? I do know that most orgs rely on volunteers to do tech, so it isn't surprising you might get different results. Plus something may have happened in between those months that caused the inspectors to focus on certain aspects of cage design, so don't think it is about you as much as just trying to do their jobs and keep you safe.

If I were to build a car for Chump, I'd look at what is running well locally and lean towards that. I've built a car based on my own experiences (Turbo Dodge) and it wasn't as successful as the non-turbo cars, so yeah sometimes you have to get out of your comfort zone a bit sometimes.

alfadriver
alfadriver PowerDork
10/15/13 9:42 a.m.

Having wondered about chumpcar for a while...

For those who have done it, and keep doing it, does it make sense to run an approved car as stock, or find a cheaper car that you can modify? Or even collect 10 examples that are $500?

Looking at the list- it seems to make sense to run a stock miata. Or for me, a GTV6 that is on the list, but can be found cheap. Or I know that a Spider can be made better handling for pretty cheap. Those are 3 different avenues that one can go down.

For the IT question- seems to me that it would be pretty easy to go backwards, and you would get a TON of seat time debugging everything but the chassis. Heck, considering the IT rules, you could even do a DIY engine that still is ok for Chumpcar.

Not that I'll ever act on this- since I just sold half of my Alfas this past weekend.

steronz
steronz Reader
10/15/13 9:43 a.m.

The cage requirements are even, but Lemons has always focused on slowing the cars down, and ChumpCar has focused on speeding them up. Because of that, ChumpCar is getting a lot more strict, and the shoddy welds on our cage aren't going to fly next year. It was the same guy who signed off on the car in both March and October, and I think part of his ire was that he clearly didn't look closely at anything in March and it was his initials on our tech sticker so he couldn't point the finger at anyone.

Locally it's BMWs as far as the eye can see, but the 2014 pricing means that you either start out with penalty laps or you run a bone stock 4-banger, or both. A cheaper car means we have some room to add reliability.

I'll have to think about running an ITA car in EC, I hadn't thought about that.

Curmudgeon
Curmudgeon MegaDork
10/15/13 9:53 a.m.

Hondas? Breaking? I think it's all in proper prep.

We WAILED on our '86 Civic Si for 3 16 hour races where the rev limiter was our shift indicator, that car still runs perfect and will probably be back next year. This past race was with a pair of B18 powered cars, a Civic and a CRX, the CRX never missed a beat but the Civic picked up a misfire that was attributed to an electrical problem.

The D series motors seem to fail pretty regular, but again I attribute that to preparation. That's based on observation.

steronz
steronz Reader
10/15/13 9:58 a.m.

The SOHC cars tend to have head gasket problems. Same with the DOHC cars to a lesser extent, but I don't think it's anything that can't be fixed with proper planning. What I'd like to avoid is discovering a car's week spots during the races, which is what we've been doing. I'd like to spend the money up front to build a reliable car so that we can get our money's worth at the events. I'm not necessarily wedded to Hondas, but it's what I know (86 Preludes excluded, apparently).

Swank Force One
Swank Force One MegaDork
10/15/13 10:01 a.m.

Don't those Preludes have the weird B20A that isn't really the same as the later B-series, and is also known to be FAR less accepting of abuse than pretty much any other B-series motor, ever?

Or does the 86 pre-date that?

steronz
steronz Reader
10/15/13 10:09 a.m.

Predates that, it's an A20, SOHC 2.0L that I've decided has fundamental oiling problems. Even when they were running "well," both motors we had ran with relatively lazy oil pressure (50-60 psi at load).

Swank Force One
Swank Force One MegaDork
10/15/13 10:09 a.m.
steronz wrote: Predates that, it's an A20, SOHC 2.0L that I've decided has fundamental oiling problems. Even when they were running "well," both motors we had ran with relatively lazy oil pressure (50-60 psi at load).

I'd be ecstatic to have that kind of oil pressure in my MX6.

turboswede
turboswede UltimaDork
10/15/13 10:33 a.m.
alfadriver wrote: Having wondered about chumpcar for a while... For those who have done it, and keep doing it, does it make sense to run an approved car as stock, or find a cheaper car that you can modify? Or even collect 10 examples that are $500? Looking at the list- it seems to make sense to run a stock miata. Or for me, a GTV6 that is on the list, but can be found cheap. Or I know that a Spider can be made better handling for pretty cheap. Those are 3 different avenues that one can go down. For the IT question- seems to me that it would be pretty easy to go backwards, and you would get a TON of seat time debugging everything but the chassis. Heck, considering the IT rules, you could even do a DIY engine that still is ok for Chumpcar. Not that I'll ever act on this- since I just sold half of my Alfas this past weekend.

From what I've seen locally and from watching the series grow up, I have to say a stock Miata will get its clock cleaned as it is one of the cars they watch very, very closely and there are typically faster cars out there that can be just as reliable. Basically any car that is routinely raced in IT or Production class racing will be scrutinized quite heavily and will likely get penalty laps.

If you could build an Alfa to the rules to be reliable and relatively quick, then I'd say go for it. How are the wheel and tire selections for those cars?

mazdeuce
mazdeuce SuperDork
10/15/13 10:53 a.m.

It really depends on whether you want to try and win. If you do, they you're going to need to look outside the box a little bit as they seem to have made it difficult to go fast in the "popular" cars. Are there any oddball cars on the 2014 rule sheet that you're familiar with?

steronz
steronz Reader
10/15/13 11:00 a.m.
mazdeuce wrote: It really depends on whether you want to try and win. If you do, they you're going to need to look outside the box a little bit as they seem to have made it difficult to go fast in the "popular" cars. Are there any oddball cars on the 2014 rule sheet that you're familiar with?

Winning is a bridge too far; I'd settle for finishing in the top 30%. Operative word there is "finishing."

mazdeuce
mazdeuce SuperDork
10/15/13 11:09 a.m.

Miata might be your option then. At least find a platform that works well on track from a percentage of finishers standpoint. That way you have a big knowledge base and a bunch of guys to talk to about fixing weak points. If you find that you're in the bottom half of the field but can consistently finish, then look at what you can do to go faster. My friends who run LeMons run a Miata for just this reason. They're out there to drive, not to reinvent the wheel.

Curmudgeon
Curmudgeon MegaDork
10/15/13 11:12 a.m.

Shoot, the Civic and the CRX I drove both hovered around the same oil pressure at WOT. I'm a big proponent of running the oil overfull by about a quart. When the engine is started, it'll pull about 3/4 quart into the oil passages, oil filter etc. which means the actual level in the engine is around the low oil mark if you start out with it at the full mark. If it's overfilled, the running level will be around the full mark. When we built our Civic, I had the pan off and measured the distance from the full mark to the crank counterweights, it was about an inch. Plenty of room for that extra oil!

Over on the LeMons board a big discussion started about blocking off Honda heater etc coolant hoses. If you look at the way the system is designed then blocking hoses at the head is not really adviseable. Loop them if you want to bypass the heater core but don't block them off. This includes all the little ones for the throttle body etc.

They have to have a thermostat as well. It's possible to block the bypass but that's trial and error, I prefer to use what Honda spent millions of yen to design.

Also I have seen many cars, not just Hondas, which have been built without taking airflow through the radiator into account. Gaps around the radiator must be closed off, the idea is to get every molecule of air possible to go through the radiator. This is easily done with that A/C unit foam and cheap aluminum roof flashing, hell, we fixed one airflow problem with a Yuengling box and duct tape.

Three cars I'd consider: a late 90's MX3, similar vintage Protege or (don't laugh) KIA Sephia with a 5 speed.

Swank Force One
Swank Force One MegaDork
10/15/13 11:21 a.m.

The Kia isn't funny because the 1st gen Sephias were re-bodied 90-94 Protege LXs with a stronger transmission case.

Ever seen a boosted one? I have. It's beyond hilarious.

But what you REALLY want to do is take the Sephia and put MX3 subframes and arms on it.

wvumtnbkr
wvumtnbkr HalfDork
10/15/13 11:28 a.m.

There are some misconceptions in this thread.

First off, The Chump Techs are no longer looking at what you did to your car. It is YOUR responsibility to have it listed in the logbook. This is policed by your fellow competitors.

Second, our 2nd gen RX7 is legal in both Chump and Lemons just by switching from our coilover type springs back to the cut stock springs. That's it. We don't get penalty laps in either series.

3rd, Chumpcar has a listing of how much a car is worth. This is the only way they do values now (starting in 2014). There is no more collecting Craigslist ads. There is also a list of how much parts add to the value of your car. Aftermarket springs / coilovers = $20 per corner. Exhaust header = $50.00. Etc...

I would recommend a 1st or 2nd gen RX7. You don't need to worry about the engine as long as you start with a good one.

Parts are cheap. The cars are fairly light, so consumables are cheap.

The only downside is the fairly uncompetitive straight line speed. But, the reliability is crazy good as long as you don't cut corners!

This year, my team, Ghetto Motorsports has won a Lemons race in a second gen. We finished 2nd in a first gen at a lemons race as well. The same 2nd gen we ran has competed in 3 Chump races this year and has finished 3rd, 6th (at the VIR 24hr), and 8th.

What I am trying to say is that with the right car, you can race BOTH series easily / legally / reliably. You just need to pick the right car.

I have a spreadsheet of what it would cost to duplicate our 2nd gen RX7. With used parts (what I used), you are looking at about $2500 + the cost of the car.

Rob R.

alfadriver
alfadriver PowerDork
10/15/13 11:28 a.m.

In reply to turboswede:

For the Alfas that are legal, the selection for wheels isn't all that great- odd ball bolt pattern means limited selection of wheels (aka expensive). Having said that, Milanos and GTV6's are already competitive cars for both Lemons and Chumpcar. A smart alfisti will just do that.

For a Spider- it shares the same bolt pattern as a lot of common Fords- so getting wheels is really easy. And I could almost use actual cost for some of the suspension upgrades, since the parts are easy to find. The problem is that I have to find 10 examples that are less than $500, are road worthy, and would require a nominal amount of repair to make nice.

The Miata example was what appeared to be the best "stock" choice on the list. It might be an easy one to find cheap and modify, too- since it's been proven a lot.

it's an iteresting exercise in putting a neat car together.

wvumtnbkr
wvumtnbkr HalfDork
10/15/13 11:30 a.m.

oh yea, Miatas are fast and reliable too. Just make sure you get one with a good value (the 94+ miatas have a stupid value on them!)

Rob R.

wvumtnbkr
wvumtnbkr HalfDork
10/15/13 11:34 a.m.
alfadriver wrote: In reply to turboswede: And I could almost use actual cost for some of the suspension upgrades, since the parts are easy to find. The problem is that I have to find 10 examples that are less than $500, are road worthy, and would require a nominal amount of repair to make nice. The Miata example was what appeared to be the best "stock" choice on the list. It might be an easy one to find cheap and modify, too- since it's been proven a lot.

There is no more getting ads together for Chump.

There is no "stock $500.00 car list" anymore either.

For 2014, ALL cars have a set value (set by Chump). MOST of the mods that people do have a set value as well. This set value even includes things like Lexan, plywood, etc. (price / sq ft)

I will find the value of the alfas and list it here.

Rob R.

wvumtnbkr
wvumtnbkr HalfDork
10/15/13 11:39 a.m.

Okay, I can't cut and paste the list.

The most expensive Alfa is 350$. Most of them start at $200 or $250.

From there, add headers = $50.00 Springs = $80.00 Bushings = Use stock rubber bushings (Free!) Front swaybar = $75.00 (I think)

Replace anything broken or in need of repairs with stock OEM parts = Free!

There you go, an Alfa for no penalty laps with brand new replacement struts, aftermarket springs, a new front swaybar and a header with ZERO penalty laps (assuming you don't get the $350.00 one)

I hope this clarifies how it is done at Chump. These new Chump rules are for the next 3 years.

Rob R.

alfadriver
alfadriver PowerDork
10/15/13 11:40 a.m.
wvumtnbkr wrote: 3rd, Chumpcar has a listing of how much a car is worth. This is the only way they do values now (starting in 2014). There is no more collecting Craigslist ads. There is also a list of how much parts add to the value of your car. Aftermarket springs / coilovers = $20 per corner. Exhaust header = $50.00. Etc...

I was looking at the old rules, and see that 2014 are very different.

However, that does not mean the rules are spot on. For instance, the car that I'm interested in is a Alfa Spider, much like the one I brought to the challenge. Built between 1967 and 1992. But the cars listed in the value section have the Spiders between 1995 and 2004. Yes, there were Spiders built during that period, but the ones that made it to the states are less than 20, and they don't have ANY listed during the period where they were sold in the US. More odd- they have "Sprint/Giulietta" from 80-89- so are we talking the Giulietta made between '54-62 which WAS availbe in the states (but current values are +$10k for a SHELL) or the Giulietta that was never sold here between but made in the 80's.?

None the less- i'm sure those details can be worked out.

alfadriver
alfadriver PowerDork
10/15/13 11:42 a.m.

In reply to wvumtnbkr:

Like I just posted, I want to do an '85 Alfa Spider. Not on the list. I can get an '85 Spider, but can't get a '98 Spider.

wvumtnbkr
wvumtnbkr HalfDork
10/15/13 11:42 a.m.

The first column says "Pre-1980". any of the models listed made before that will have teh "pre-1980" value.

This list includes cars that went to mexico and canada.

Rob R.

Curmudgeon
Curmudgeon MegaDork
10/15/13 11:43 a.m.

Yeah, the 'set value' from Chump is a head scratcher.

wvumtnbkr
wvumtnbkr HalfDork
10/15/13 11:44 a.m.

In reply to alfadriver:

Thats weird. It looks like there needs to eb some clarification on the Alfas. However, I would think the older stuff would carry the same $150.00 value as the oldest one on the list.

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