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mazdeuce PowerDork
10/20/14 2:47 p.m.

It's called the $2014 Challenge, not the $2014 This is Easy.

PseudoSport HalfDork
10/20/14 2:58 p.m.

Ha, well my hopes of driving it down are not don't look like they are going to work out but we are going to grab a trailer and drag it 1500 miles south and hope for the best.

Also after getting the car back on the ground we noticed it still sits high even with a full coil out of the front. Back still has the long shackles but i think we are going to leave everything as is. Currently it sits much higher the jeep.

Mad_Ratel Reader
10/20/14 3:01 p.m.

that looks awesome for some reason... get some mud boggers for it!

06HHR Reader
10/20/14 3:09 p.m.

I always loved the way these cars looked, I think it would look great with a stock length shackle. Still, I think it's great. Kind of reminds me of a 70's Camaro on Gabriel SkyJackers..

singledownloop New Reader
10/20/14 4:28 p.m.

Here's a link to a nearly free mod to lower the front another 1 1/2" http://blog.hemmings.com/index.php/2011/12/13/project-hmx-gettin-low/

PseudoSport HalfDork
10/20/14 5:09 p.m.

I’m not sure how I feel about the lowing plates for an autocross application. Nothing supports the top of the plate and even though it’s thick I feel like there will be a lot of leverage on that. I’ll run it by the engineers on the team as see what they think. If they give it a thumps up then it should be a good solution.

I could adjust the rear shackles but something about the stance make me smile. The car also came with a suicide knob so autocross is going to be…interesting. Alan is going to hate us.

Also we might need bigger mud flaps.

Billy_Bottle_Caps GRM+ Memberand Dork
10/22/14 8:48 p.m.

In reply to PseudoSport:

man you got a ton done though, I know not all you wanted to. Good look in FLA.

PseudoSport Dork
10/28/14 3:32 p.m.

Yes, we made it to Florida but we ended up trailering the car. We finally got around to road testing it 2 hours before we were supposed to leave with poor results. Trans wasn’t going into gear and would slip in and out and the car didn’t want to take throttle. Instead of giving up we loaded it on the trailer and drove 22 hours to Gainesville FL with hopes of sorting it out once we got there. We had a while to think about what was wrong and come up with a plan.

When we arrived in FL first thing we did was get the car up and check the shifter linage. Turns out it was hitting the down pipe and not fully going into drive and we couldn’t get it into 2 or 1. Since making a new exhaust pipe was not really an option we cut, modified, and welded the linkage in the parking lot.

While my friends were working on that I sorted out MegaSquirt. Distributor needed to be reclocked to work within the range of adjustment of MS. I had to cut the mounting ears off the distributor with a hack saw then reset the trigger angle. All the instructions I found for this were incorrect and were for MS2 instead of MS1. Once I figured out that MS1 triggers differently I set things by eye and got the car fired up again and was able to get the trigger angle set correctly. By 2 PM that day we were able to drive the car around and start tuning.

New problem we found was that the car would boost creep to 16+ psi since we didn’t have time to port the wastegate on the turbo like we did with the Jeep. I set overboost protection to 15 and tuned fuel and timing the best I could. With the added power we then noticed the trans would slip in 3rd gear when boost spiked. I tried pulling timing to make it feel lazy up top but that didn’t help and just hurt performance in first and second. Our thought was that with the stock 2.31 gears and the taller rear tires that we wouldn’t need 3rd in the autocross or drags.

Since we sorted the mechanical stuff the best we could we turned our attention to the body. The gray fender and missing front valance were an eye sore and we had to do something about that. I trimmed the mangled valance to clear the intercooler and my team mates took one of the painted pieces to home depot and had them color match it. We then rolled on some outdoor latex paint which matched pretty good other than the shine and finish. This is not something we are proud of but was good for a laugh it did make the car look way better from 20+ feet away.

With all the condensation forming on the car there was no way it was going to dry outside overnight so we stashed the parts in the bottom of the hotel stairway.

We were still worried about the transmission and noticed the pan leak had gotten worse. Not wanting to dump trans fluid all over the track we decided to drop the pan to fix the leak. When we were in there we found a bunch of crud floating around. This fluid has maybe 3 miles on it. All we could do was button it up and hope for the best.

On Friday the first event was the autocross. We knew the car was not going to be competitive with the stock suspension and street tires. On the first 2 runs there was a problem with fuel cut so we topped off the tank and gave it back to the pro driver. Car now accelerated like it should but that caught the pro driver off guard and he almost spun it in the first hard turn, lol. His next 2 runs were clean but we were still way off pace from the other cars. We also have videos of Alan using the suicide knob a few times.

Drags were not much better. Shifting the car manually with the column was tricky. The trans was slow to shift and would hit the rev limit or boost cut every pass plus it did end up needing third which slipped. The gearing and tires really hurt things too. Best we could do was a 14.7 @ 93 mph with a 2.2 60 foot. Not a great time but was way better than we were expecting with all the issues.

For the concourse Tony had buffed out the paint on Thursday with surprising results. All we needed to do was washi off the crud in the engine bay from racing and the ride down then give the rest of the car a quick wash. Not wanting to do this by hand we loaded up 4 guys in the car and drove down to a self-service car wash.

Quick picture of how much high it sits over our teammate’s 318ti

The Spirit turned out to be heavier the we though. I bet ditching those huge lift shackles will balance the car out better.

Over all we still had a great time and are looking forward to finishing the car and bringing it back next year.

Final results: 26th autocross 13th drags 14th concourse 16th overall

Edit: More pictures from Tony.

FSP_ZX2 Dork
10/28/14 3:49 p.m.

Cross weights are amazingly close. For someone without the constraints of a (ridiculously small) budget, this could still be an inexpensive basis for a really unique, cool little hotrod/autocross/track car. Kudos!

PseudoSport Dork
12/26/14 3:30 p.m.

Still looking into what to do about the transmission issues. Options so far:

1.Rebuild the stock trans. It’s the light duty version and only has 3 clutches instead of 4-5 of the 998 in the V8 cars. Think I can rebuild it with 4 clutches but not sure how much power that will hold. Budget hit would be around $150

2.Find and rebuild a 998 form a V8 car. Not having much luck locating a budget friendly one. Budget hit $200-250 if I can find a trans for cheap

3.Buy adapter plate for GM automatic and use a 700-4r or 200-r4 that I have kicking around. Adapter is $218 plus FMV of used trans.

Pat HalfDork
12/26/14 7:00 p.m.

Make an adapter plate, FMV the 200r4, budget a trans brake, launch at 20 psi boost.

PseudoSport Dork
1/19/15 2:03 p.m.

After weighing the other options and doing some more research I picked up an 2WD AW4 auto from an 1988 Jeep Comanche. This is the same trans that we are running in the XJ-R. Originally I though the overall trans length might not work. Turns out its less than ½” longer then the stock 904. 31” vs 31.5” This is also going to be the cheapest option since I picked it up for $40 and it included the converter, NSS, VSS, kick down cable, and shift computer. 2WD trans are almost worthless to Jeep guys. This also allows me to ditch the $36 crappy 904 kickdown cable I had to buy to make it work with the 4.0L.

Next step is to buy a Ford 8.8 axle. Rumor is its 3/8-5/8” longer then the stock axle but the diff is offset 2-3” to one side. If I’m lucky everything will just fit and I can reuse the stock driveshaft.

Javelin GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/19/15 8:59 p.m.

In reply to PseudoSport:

I happen to have a 90-93 (IIRC, drum brake Explorer Gen 1) Ford 8.8" axle in my possession. Need some measurements?

PseudoSport Dork
1/20/15 6:32 p.m.

Not sure what measurements I need yet since I'm still in the planning stage but thanks for the offer.

mazdeuce UberDork
1/20/15 9:38 p.m.

I'm glad to see more updates on this car. It's visually one of the most interesting cars in the magazine from last year's coverage. I'm excited to watch it develop.

singledownloop Reader
1/27/15 8:57 p.m.

Buy an explorer 8.8 and an extra short side axle.Then drill out plug welds to the long side axle tube.Press the tube out,cut exactly 3" off of it,then press back in.Weld both tubes to the center section,weld a set of spring perch mounts in the correct spots.Assemble axle and you get an rearend with 31 spline axles,locker (if you shop) and even disc brakes for as low as $150 and your labor.Last summer I paid $150 to a local salvage yard for an explorer 8.8 with 3.73 gears,locker and disc brakes and they even delivered it to my house.Lots of small body amc guys are narrowing and running 8.8's just as I described.

PseudoSport Dork
3/9/15 11:59 a.m.

In reply to singledownloop:

Thats kinda what I'm thinking. Just waiting for all the snow to melt so I can hit the junkyards.

Since we've had 8 feet of snow this winter and haven’t been able to work on the car. Instead I’ve been cleaning up and selling parts off the old 258 engine to recoup budget. We have $86 left to sell until we zero out the cost of the car. That gives us about $600 in budget to work with this year

crankwalk GRM+ Memberand Dork
3/9/15 12:42 p.m.

This car is so awesome. I just see it parked outside of a bowling alley somewhere looking all bad ass.

PseudoSport Dork
4/20/15 3:37 p.m.

Thanks for the offer but I've decided to go with a Jeep Cherokee trans since it's the cheapest option and has held up ok in the XJ-R.

Few weeks back we found Trans Am WS6 36MM hollow swaybar and 2.25 turns lock to lock steering box on CL. Box is a direct swap and should be a huge improvement. There was so much hand over hand steering before that it was hard to get a feel for what the car was doing. As for the bar I think we'll have to modify the AMC or cut the ends down to make it work.

Harkins New Reader
4/21/15 10:35 a.m.
PseudoSport wrote: There was so much hand over hand steering before that it was hard to get a feel for what the car was doing.

That's because you were not properly using the suicide knob...

PseudoSport Dork
5/18/15 11:46 a.m.

Few weeks ago after I took the AMC out of a quick drive I found the radiator was leaking and the upper hose blew a hole in it. New Spirit radiator was almost $300 and there are none in any junkyards near me. While digging specs on other radiators I noticed a CJ was very close to a Spirit one and was less than half the price so I ordered one and cross my fingers. New radiator shows up and drops right into place. All I needed to do was drill new 4 holes in side brackets so it would sit lower and allow the hood to close. The transmission cooler fittings were now in the bottom of the tank but the fittings from the old radiator threaded right in and the lines fit with no bending! Now I could have gotten a 3 row all aluminum radiator on Ebay for about the same price as the stock CJ one but I’m trying to avoid a budget hit by using a stock radiator.

Ignore the rusty stains the coolant left all over the engine bay. It was way worse before I sprayed it down with a hose. Everything white was brown.

Gearheadotaku GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
5/18/15 12:15 p.m.

So the stock radiator is free in the budget? I'm confused.

PseudoSport Dork
5/18/15 12:44 p.m.

In the past if something broke outside the challenge then it could be replaced with a equal part and not be a budget hit. I actually don’t see that mentioned in the new 2015 rules now that I look at them but I’ll email Rick to confirm. Since I wanted something stock but not a performance upgrade I went with the CJ radiator. Didn’t feel right putting in a performance radiator to replace the stock one. Worst case I can run the CJ rad outside the challenge and hack in a junkyard one that’s budget friendly.

PseudoSport Dork
5/22/15 10:28 a.m.

Found a Ford Explorer 8.8 with 3.73’s and LSD on Craigslist yesterday for $100. Backing plates are rusty but it came with calipers. Now the stock spirit axle is 57.5” wide and the Explorer is 59.5”. I can narrow the Explorer one 3" to 56.5” and use two short passenger side axles or do nothing and see if the XJ-R wheels fit. The Jeep has 2 different offset wheels and is narrower in the back so this might actually even out the treadwear between the 2 vehicles.

tptrsn New Reader
1/7/16 5:49 p.m.

This is a GREAT thread!! How is everything coming along since May?

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