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irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/3/21 12:13 p.m.

Doing a bit of stage prep for upcoming sprint and SOFR. Lighting has always been somewhat weak on this car in terms of distance. Current setup has a 36" curved ebay LED bar on the bumper for general close-medium flood and a 12" Hella LED pencil-beam bar in the bumper, which is pretty good but also low enough that it tends to get blcked by small crests in the distance. So decidedto actually spend some money and picked up an 18" Diode Dynamics bar, which is pretty popular with the stage guys. This one will only be on the car during night stages (the other two area always mounted), so I decided to mount it up on the hood to get better line distance. Nothing fancy, I just drilled some holes and put some weldnuts on the backside (aligned it to use the hood frame for better stability vs. just sheet metal. Haven't done the electrical yet, but this is essentially the setup. Can be removed or installed in about 1 minute, so should be fine to do in service. 

EricPat999 None
5/3/21 3:01 p.m.

In reply to irish44j :

at least in rally cars you just kill the master switch and done.

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/4/21 8:24 p.m.

Got going on a long-planned project - to clean up the mess of wiring and haphazardly-mounted relays for all the auxiliary lighting, the electric fan, and the horn. These things were all added at various times and relays put wherever convenient (and/or where I was re-using factory wiring). It all seemed to work fine, but I've wanted it cleaned up to some degree, so I finally got a hold of a relay box to build. This is the same one Nonack used for his BRZ build...it's $29 on Amazon and is surprisingly nice quality - very heavy-duty with nice-quality hardware and weathersealing.

So i spent my Monday night in the living room setting up the wiring and relays

Then spent this evening installing it, which was not all that much fun but I'm happy to have it done.

Still have a bit of wiring cleanup to do, but mostly done and everything works

This also let me hook up the new LED bar and test everything out

It's definitely brighter than my two other bars, which is what I had hoped.

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/5/21 6:51 p.m.

quick Porsche stuff....in the category of "little things"

So one of the major flaws of the 924/944 is the rear hatch. It has an aluminum frame, and the force from the two hydraulic struts that hold them up, when closed they push against the frame and cause the glass to pull out of the frame at the top (causing leaks). Most guys just drill the struts out to no pressure and use a prop rod or 2x4 or whatever to hold the hatch open. I've been doing that for years. After much research and digging around, I found someone who has been using some rear hatch struts from some kind of 80s Jeep or something, so I ordered them for 20 bucks off Amazon. 

Anyhow, they're an exact fit to the ball-style ends on the Porsche, and more importantly they ahve about 1/2 the pressure of the Porsche ones. So basically they don't make the hatch automatically (and quickly) rise when you press the electric release button, but instead just go up a bit, and then when you help the hatch up, it slowly rises to the top and stays. In short, they work perfectly and hopefully the reduced pressure won't separate my frame any further. In any case, it's nice to be able to use the electric hatch release again, since the key is very tight and kind of annoying to get to under the spoiler.

So yeah, here's an exciting photo of the hatch not being held up by the aluminum rod I've been using..

Part number if anyone needs it

In unrelated news, a neighbor one street over just traded in his C8 Vette and got an AMG SLS. He was idling in the driveway when I walked the dog by. That thing sounds even better than the Vette did. 

ugh, blurry photo

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/6/21 10:00 p.m.

Well, now that I got everything all packed up, the rallysprint for this weekend has been posponed again due to weather/course conditions. Can't win this year with the weather. So I'm gonna head to Rausch Creek anyhow in the Raider and do some wheeling on the ORV trails instead (also because I have a non-refundable hotel room since I didn't cancel it in time, so might as well go use it). 

So, that sucks, but it is what it is. May be tough to get a re-sched before SOFR, which sucks too since I'm about 2 years out of pracice on high-speed stuff in this car (rallycross certainly isn't the same thing). Oh well. 

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
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5/8/21 9:26 p.m.

So since the rallysprint at Rausch Creek was postponed, I put the rally car and trailer away and loaded up the Raider and headed to Rausch in it instead. Trucked about 200 miles Friday night to the motel that I already had paid for, so might as well use it, right? Not a lot of action there, hoped I wouldn't be murdered in my sleep or something but turned out to be a nice, clean, and basic motel.

After checking in I jumped in the Raider and cruised another 70 miles on PA's terrible I-78 (bouciest highway I've ever been on) and then some nice country roads to visit Chris and Sara at the ANY% garage. I beat them home by a few minutes so had to scope out the cross-country Caddy project Chris is working on....it's big.

After we hung out for a bit we decided to go to dinner over the river in Jersey via all the awesome gravel roads out that way. I gave Sara the keys to the Raider and we headed off

Chris had to do a few things to the Rally BRZ and left a while after us, but still managed to beat us there (a rally car vs. the Raider in the twisties isn't a fair fight). So we parked downtown in some little scenic place.

After dinner, Sara took the Raider again and I jumped in her codriver seat in the BRZ (a tight fit, since I'm 6" taller than her!). While she took paved roads back, Chris showed me some of his favorite gravel roads for rally testing, at a good clip.....I'm not a great passenger in cars in general, so that was both fun and a bit fearful for me lol

Then we popped out the other side, right behind the Raider. Kind of fun to see it on the road from behind...

After that I headed back to the motel and got some sleep, then headed out in the morning to meet up with Jim (my codriver for those who dont' follow the rally thread) and Andy Thomas, who we rallycross with and who leads a lot of trail ride groups up there. Jim brought his new Tacoma to test it out (bone stock) as we took on some green and blue trails.

Andy flexin

Near the top of the power line run, basically an uphill mile of bowling-ball-size rocks. At the top with a big lip I had to bump the throttle to clear and the truck went damn-near vertical with the Pajero Salute, according to Andy....who didn't get a photo of it. I was looking at the sky until it crested and came back down lol

The Raider doesn't flex much lol

I enjoyed having to take totally different lines from the guys in the long-wheelbase trucks. I can't bridge some of their gaps, but I can weave through obstacles in a way they can't. The rear LSD got some work as well. It will be nice to have a front locker on this one of these days, because with the short wheelbase that will really help it climb these off-angle areas.

Also ran into this nice Trooper (and a Bronco II behind it)

Then we wend down to the water pit area. You may recall this from January when it was all ice-covered and I towed a Subaru out of it. This time, no ice but the water was deep so we did some playing

Some Jeeps came through and joined in

Anyhow, great day to wheel, and of course it didn't rain until we were leaving (which is why the rallysprint was cancelled). Go figure. Raider did well, no issues whatsoever, and I headed 200 miles home afterwards. Incidentally I got 18mpg for the trip, including the wheeling, and did almost exactly 500 miles round trip. 

I did run this time without the front swaybar, which was much more comfortable on off-angle stuff. Then I got soaked in the rain and hail trying to put it back on before we left, which is a bit of a hassle. 



irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/18/21 6:45 p.m.

Just over three weeks until we head off to Southern Ohio Forest Rally. Looks like due to work commitments Jim will probably fly in the night before recce so it'll be me and probably Stephen and Josh S. hauling out there. Anyhow, got a rallycross this weekend (single-day) to do some final testing, then I'll go over the car to some degree and it'll be go time.

For this season, ARA has a new sponsor (Dirtfish) so we all had to buy new sticker packages. I think it's pretty lame that the SPONSOR doesn't pay for the new sticker packages since there was nothign wrong with the old ones, but instead we all get stuck paying $70 (I don't yet have the files to cut them myself on my cutter). So that's pretty annoying. Plus, I think the new ones are pretty boring looking compared to the old ones.  Such is racing.....just when you think you've spent all the money you need to, you get to spend more. 

Anyhow, bye bye to our origial ARA decal set, which have served well for almost 5 years.

The paint underneath is.....also 5 years ago before the car turned red.

New stuff. yay


irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/25/21 9:49 p.m.

Currently starting with final preps for Southern Ohio Forest Rally, which we depart for in about 3 weeks, but first a quick recap of last weekend's single-day rallycross at Summit Point:

Yep, the usual suspects were there:

Mod RWD had, as usual, a huge 18-car class (out of about 50-55 total cars), and pretty much all of the usual fast-movers were there (though Josh S. was driving Jim and Amanda's Miata with Jim unable to stay for the whole day due to work obligations). And once again, we were on the Barn Course at Summit, except this time Kimmett designed it so the slaloms from the previous event were once again gone and the long straights were just drag races, the way Adam likes it. Also the way Nick likes it, because no car can really compete with the M3 with this course setup unless Nick makes a big mistake (which is pretty rare). 

I went out hot, as usual, and was in 1st or 2nd at the start - I tend to be less cautious on the first run than most of the class, but they generally catch up after a couple runs, and that happened again. About halfway through the morning session I was sitting in 3rd or so, in a tight bunch of cars, and I took a bad line into a rough area and unsettled the car enough to pivot it in and took out two inside cones in a row before I could get out of the off-track rut. With those two cones,  totally in an area I had no business hitting cones, dropped me down to about 7th in this class, since few cones are hit by the leaders, in general. 

Long story short, I ran pretty fast all day and didn't hit any more cones. With one run to go I was in 5th, tenths behind both 4th and 3rd place and a couple seconds behind 2nd. By this point Nick had run up a 10-ish second lead so it was really a battle for the other spots. I put down a fast run, but it was pretty much identical to three guys ahead of me, and in the end I think I finished in the same spot - fifth, but 2/10ths behind fourth, who himself was 15/1000ths behind 3rd, with 2nd still a cone ahead of the three of us. So, is what it is. I thought I drove pretty well, and take away those two idiotic cones and I think I would have been 2nd.....but cones count, so 5th it is lol....

With Mike Golden's 2ZZZ-swapped MR2 (very fast, but he hits too many cones) and Adam Kimmett's FTD STi (which is not his stage rally car)

Car felt pretty good overall, and I ran on my backup gravels (Federal hard compounds, probably not the fastest thing to have on the car but whatever) and with all the stage gear in the car (spare tire, extinguishers, fire system, both seats and harnesses, tow strap, etc). So, I don't feel too bad hanging near the top in a car that's probably 300lbs heavier than anything else in the class other than the M3 (which has a huge power advantage). So, as long as we keep running at Summit, I don't think my chances are very good going forward against this talented and fast class, but who knows. 

Some random pics I took of other people: 

Mike Julian's Flat-6 swapped Impreza vs. Kimmett for MA supremacy

The rally Pea

Yeah, we have so many BMWs at our rallycrosses, we even have 5-series..

And plenty of Subarus


irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/25/21 9:51 p.m.

As to SOFR prep....

Switched the brake pads back to the HP+ (I use HPS for rallycross since HP+ can't warm up fast enough)

Cleaned all the glass and Rain-X'd the outside and Fog-X'd the insides since SOFR can get very wet

Also did some interior cleaning, washed out water jugs, and did a few other things. The run-up to rally isn't very interesting so I probably won't document much more lol...

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/31/21 5:41 p.m.

Chugging along getting all the stuff together for SOFR, which we depart for in about 8 days. Stashing most of it in the truck so it's out of the garage...

Also slightly relocated the outside pull for the fire system, as mounting it through the plastic vent was both not particularly secure and also put the cable at an angle that was kinking it a bit. So moved it over a few inches at a better angle mounted in sheet metal. Not much clearance here from the hood, but since it slides forward to open it's not an issue.

old spot

doing a good bit of interior cleaning and organizing because I like starting a rally with everything clean(ish) and organized(ish)

Then swung over to Shawn (moxnix)'s place where he was nice enough to swap over our Federal gravels (only used at the wet SPTR in 2019, so virtually no wear on them at all), from the ugly 5-spoke wheels to another set of the "phone dials" I picked up a while ago and painted white

also, Shawn's "wheel and tire nook" is.....extensive.

So, that's where I'm at right now. A few remaining things to do:

1. I swapped the Hawk HP+ pads back on (I use HPS for rallycross), but they're probably only at 1/3rd life left and I expect SOFR to need a lot of brakes, so ordered a new set which I'll put on when they arrive.

2. At the same time, I'm going to raise the front suspension about 1/2" to level the car off better and get a tad more ground clearance up front, thanks to our low M50 pan and even lower skidplate.

chandler UltimaDork
6/1/21 5:03 a.m.

There was a guy on rev giving away a set of 14" weaves in your area.

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
6/1/21 8:29 a.m.
chandler said:

There was a guy on rev giving away a set of 14" weaves in your area.

Yeah I think I know who that is. I've switched pretty much completely over to 15-in wheels at this point since there are very few rally tires still available in 14 inch sizes. Hence why all my wheels are from mini coopers since there are really no 15-in E30 Wheels other than Euro weaves

Median New Reader
6/1/21 10:14 a.m.

Maybe add an arrow from the round E sticker pointing to the extinguisher pull to vend off a possible "discussion" with the tech inspector about the position of the sticker relative to the pull handle. (maybe its not needed, hard to see on the pictures)

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
6/1/21 10:35 a.m.
Median said:

Maybe add an arrow from the round E sticker pointing to the extinguisher pull to vend off a possible "discussion" with the tech inspector about the position of the sticker relative to the pull handle. (maybe its not needed, hard to see on the pictures)

The outside pull is not even required for rally. Since if you dump it into the trees there's unlikely to be a spectator or course official there to pull it anyway lol. I just put it in because the kit came with a second cable pull so might as well! :)

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
6/14/21 7:12 p.m.

Southern Ohio Forest Rally (SOFR) 2021

First of all, if you want an interesting recap of this rally, go read Chris and Sara's build on this forum. Because Chris writes better about events than I do, and they do more interesting things at events than I do, and they always have more dramatic drama at events than I do. So, here's a link to their thread with a recap at the end: https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/build-projects-and-project-cars/brz-rally-car-exceptionally/172073/page51/

So, here's my abbreviated version:

Headed into the boonies of Ohio, via the boonies of Maryland and West Virginia. This is probably the Sequoia's last big tow before I get something newer with more power....a decision that once again was reinforced by how seemingly exhausting it is to tow with this thing through the mountains. I mean, it's a V8 but I have no patience, lol.

Showed up at our double-wide airbnb trailer, with three teams staying there (Brolin in his e30 and Anthony's VW). 

Side note: Phil Barnes co-drove for Anthony. If you don't know the name, he's been rallying since the mid-1970s and has something like 200+ entries to his name - only one other active rally codriver has more, as far as I know.  Anyhow, I've known Phil for several years, but not very well so it was interesting hearing a lot of his stories over the weekend.

Highlight of Anthony's car

Highlight of Kevin's car (yeah, that's a Laguna pipe)

Anyhoo....once we settled in we rolled out to do some pre-rally shopping

Then the next morning headed out on recce in Jim's new Tacoma, which was pretty uneventful until we got a flat....

I let Jim drive a couple stages and practiced my notes

Also, on literally 25 occasions we encountered the three VSC (read: Subaru Rally Team) recce cars driven by Pastrana, Ken Block, and Semenuk. They literally appeared everywhere on the stages and off...starting to wonder if there were actually more than three of them, or they were doing 5-pass recce or something. There's Travis:

And Ken...

Then we headed to tech, which was totally uneventful other than Jim forgetting his helmet and HANS (had to come back the next morning). I spend a lot of time prepping the car and making things work correctly (especially all the lighting) so we usually don't have any trouble with tech.

Downey was there, and his car, not surprisingly, was getting an extra-close look. Dan is an awesome driver, but shall we say his car often looks like he didn't do any prep at all, lol.... Dan would go on to win Regional Open 2WD class and finish 3rd overall in Regional. Like I said, he's fast. 

Ozgur was there as well, and you may recognize that car as a shell I sold to him several years ago. Sadly, it didn't finish, having some kind of electrical problem.

On Friday we did a few remaining recce stages and then headed to the trailer drop-off site, which was basically a pre-service park of sorts. Mostly just a bunch of sitting around for us, since the car was ready to go already.

No, that's not Nonack's BRZ in the background, it's one from Dirtfish with a similar color and strip pattern.

That's Chris's

No shockingly, much last-second work was being done on Dan's car by all the e30 crews there, lol

Then off to Parc Expose, where we stood around, sweated, and chatted with each other, fans, etc. As the frontrunners departed for the first stage it started raining hard.....thanks for that, since the first stage is tarmac, and what's more fun than tarmac on gravel tires? Anyhow, some pics from Parc

Off to the first stage, a short tarmac stage for spectators in the park, which went fine. I'll add pics if I get any. Then two night stages in the very twisty Ohio mountains, with sheer drop-off all over the place (aka "exposure") and plenty of other hazards. 

Came upon Ken Block crashed on the 2nd stage...

Our runs were uneventful, being careful, and after we headed back to hang out at the house. In the morning, preparing to depart, Anthony's crew guys almost rolled their minivan in the "exposure" next to the driveway (seriously) so we helped "recover" them

Saturday we headed to the stages and promptly had the first two cancelled due to a problem with the communications net, which is used to run all the rally's safety and timing stuff. There was much standing around out on some random rural highway and on an entry road

Then we did transits of the two stages, which had plenty of disappointed spectators so we did our best to be entertaining at or below the mandated 30mph transit speed limit.

Then we ran the 3rd stage and went back to the first service, which lasted about 3+ hours due to continuing radio net issues. So there was much more standing around....everyone out of their suits, etc

we took a team pic. woot.

Chris was busy trying to replace the radiator on his tow rig, which had blown up earlier in the day. Yeah, DURING the rally...

And their dog moved over to my tow rig to hang out in the A/C. I should have done the same!

Jim took a nap

A helicopter making circles around the service park was rumored to be Jon Bon Jovi, who is rumored to have recently bought a rally car with plans to rally. So, that would be neat (my first concert was Bon Jovi, back in 1988 or so!)

So don't have any action photos of Saturday yet,  but we finished

Our crew: 

And then the kill switch bit the dust trying to leave impound. Guess it lived just long enough to finish the rally. So that's one project to do on the car. 

Everyone packed up by about midnight after we watched the awards ceremony (Downey up there on top, and he proposed to his codriver/girlfriend on the way home, incidentally)



- Car felt great. The suspension was perfect, it handled and rode well and felt very balanced and stable at higher speeds. 

- Jim called the notes great. His pace was dead-on

- I drive slow. I didn't feel as if I drove "badly" but I was pretty conservative due to how much exposure there is there and in the end I'm somewhat frustrated at just HOW slow we were - 6th in class. I suppose in the end, we lost to guys who we expected to lose to (Downey, among others) and beat the guys we expected to beat (wont' name names here), so I suppose I must have driven pretty average :/ We did have a bit of a battle with Nonacks all day in the BRZ and were pretty close with them for much of the rally, but they put some time on us in the later stages as they picked up the pace and I just kind of  wound down with no podium within grasp and no reason to do anything dumb. 

- Nothing broke during the rally. We did nothing at service (though Josh and Eric dutifully jacked up the car to inspect things), didn't take any wheels off, no issues at all other than excessive brake dust on my fresh white wheels (which will never be fresh white again). SOFR is a braking-heavy rally and the dust buildup showed...

And a few rando photos from the drive home, which was uneventful, long, and tiring after 16 hours of rally and 4 hours of sleep....

pulled up behind this rig at a rest stop. DO WANT








¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
6/14/21 7:58 p.m.

The hairpin \m/ picture is worth your entire entry fee and you know it.

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
6/14/21 8:42 p.m.
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ said:

The hairpin \m/ picture is worth your entire entry fee and you know it.

lol....I didn't even know Jim did it. I definitely threw the horns a few dozen times last weekend myself. 

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
6/14/21 8:50 p.m.

Dorota Klejna pics

Brian Wells pic on the super-special. Always hit the puddle, even if it's not the fast line. 

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
6/16/21 7:06 p.m.

I guess my SOFR storytelling wasn't up to Nonack's level, so moving on....lol

Got home from Ohio and after parking the trailer I noticed it was kind of "brake smelly" - not surprising thanks to the DC area traffic, but the left rear wheel was also much hotter than others. It took only a couple minutes to figure out the problem: Apparently all four nuts that hold the brake assembly to the axle had come off, and three of the four bolts (which are pressed lug-bolt-style into the back of the drum assembly) had fallen into the drum (with only one still there keeping the entire assembly from spinning when brakes were applied!

So no damage done, other than it appears one of the studs got jammed someplace and was pressing the brake shoes against the drum lightly enough not to lock them up, but enough to cause a bunch of dust and wear down a corner of the stud.

I have no idea how this happened - the nuts on the other side were still tight. All I can think of is that I didn't actually tighten them down when I assembled the brakes last year.  In any case, had to run out to find the correct size nuts (oddball 7/16-20 size that I don't have around here since all my stuff is metric), but put it all back together (this time with loctite), repacked the bearing, and should be good to go. 


In unrelated news, I picked up an aluminum skidplate for the GTI from ECS. Apparently they had a run of plates made, but found that they didn't clear some component of GTIs with DSG transmission, so they discounted them about 20% for manual transmission cars (which I have). So picked one up for $200 shipped (about what the material itself would have cost me - I was planning to just make my own). All in all, very nice quality and perfect fit. And better protection for the plastic (!!) oil pan than the factory splash guard.

The only downside is that the front just attaches to the hard plastic bracing (rear bolts to the subframe). ECS sells a brace kit that comes down from the frame rails, but I think I can fab something up out of scrap steel I have around here rather than paying for that. This car isn't going to see any rallycross or anything, but since i"m taking it to NEFR next month I want a bit of protection so I can hit some of the dirt roads out to the stages.


adam525i GRM+ Memberand Dork
6/16/21 9:06 p.m.

So, you gonna check your other trailer brakes to make sure they are all tight? 

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
6/16/21 9:48 p.m.

In reply to adam525i :

yeah, already checked. I only have brakes on one axle and the other side was totally tight. 

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
6/17/21 5:19 a.m.

How much Code Red would it cost me to use the GTI for recce at NEFR?

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
6/19/21 9:01 p.m.

Picked up a new tow rig. If you want to read about it, here's a link: https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/grm/got-a-new-tow-pig-2010-sequoia/184487/page1/

I'll do updates in this thread here on any "mods" I do to it in the future, but those will be very occasional initially.

docwyte PowerDork
6/20/21 8:09 a.m.

So does the new Sequioa tow better than the old one? 

I've been eyeing those ECS street shields but would want the bracing kit.  Which for some reason they say fits the GTI but doesn't fit the R, which I have.  My other option is to buy the VW one, which is sweet but costs $400, ouch!

10001110101 New Reader
6/20/21 8:39 a.m.

In reply to docwyte :

This is the company I used for my Passat, and will be ordering for my TDI. https://www.cascadegerman.com/product/evolution-ares-skid-plate-mk7/

They cost a little more, but they are rock solid. 

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