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irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/2/21 8:49 p.m.

New England Forest Rally 2021

I didn't compete this year, but my usual co-driver (Jim) signed on to call the notes for Kevin Brolin in his e30 (Kevin, of course, being the former co-driver for likely the fastest e30 rallyist in the country - Dan Downey. So i went up to crew for both of them (Kevin/Jim and Dan/Sammie) and the Nonacks in the BR-Z (documented here, of course). Chris has been having some issues with his tow rig, so I ended up driving the new Sequoia up as a backup in case it didn't make it (I was originally going to drive the GTI). This was my first time back to NEFR since 2018 when you may recall we smashed the oil pan on the 2nd to last stage and DNF'd. One of these days I'll get back there in the car to try to beat this rally, but not this year. 

Yeah, that's comic sans...

My trip started off with a quick stopover to visit my cousin in NYC (he's a bartender in Manhatten and lives in Brooklyn).  In any case, took the subway into the city and explored for a while until he was off work

Try finding street parking for a Sequoia in NYC! And then I come out in the morning and apparently I'm not the only one who managed to do so....

My cuz has an e30 I helped him find last year, which also lives on the streets of Brooklyn

So after visiting, I got up in the morning and did the 6 more hours to get to Sunday River ski resort in Maine, the rally HQ. Met up with the teams (we all stayed together at an airbnb) and in the morning while they all went out on recce, me and Josh S. (bluej) jumped in the truck and headed up Mount Washington, which was a lot steeper and a lot cooler than I expected, with perfect weather.  Ironically, we followed a 1st gen Sequoia all the way up...

Meanwhile, Jim sent me a photo of them on recce, stopped in the exact same spot where we killed the car in 2018

2018:

And Josh, Jesse, and I took the three cars through tech without any major drama

(continued in next post)

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/2/21 8:50 p.m.

On Friday, we all went to Parc Expose and saw a lot of our rally friends, though a bit bittersweet being there crewing and not competing for me. But still a good time seeing people and cars.

Sara and Brian McNamara

The last time Sean's car was seen alive...

Dan Downey's e30 and Kev and Jim in the "mudwhale" (a full-car parody of the series sponsor, DirtFish)

The dubs

Gabe parked next to Ken Block's (new) cossie, being driven by Jax Redline. You may recall in 2018 we were parked right next to Ken's original Cossie just before it burned to the ground...

new vs. old

a fan favorite (and yes, it's 2wd)

So the cars headed out to the stages, and we went to set up service. The service spot right across from us was SRT (Subaru Rally Team) and Hoonigan, so some nice hardware there...

If you want to read about the rally stages, go hit up Chris's build thread for the BRZ action. The big story for us was Dan and Sammie returning to service after the 2nd stage complaining of a "major clutch problem." after a bit of discussion, we determined the flywheel bolts had likely come loose, so the whole crew (and the neighboring crews) jumped into action to pull off the transmission, tighten the EXTREMELY LOOSE flywheel bolts, and put it all back together. 

Nonacks and Brolin/Jim had no issues and continued on. At the end of the day we did a quick inspect and headed back to the house. 

Other teams had to work much later...

Sadly, Sean Costello's gold Impreza shown earlier didn't finish the day...

(continued on next post)

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/2/21 8:50 p.m.

On Saturday things got started early and once the cars were off we hauled butt an hour to get to the other service area. I followed Jesse Whitsell's rally bus out there and we let some traffic by...

Set up our service again across from Hoonigan. Our gas transport vehicle, with Jesse's crew:

After a few stages, we got a call from Downey that the car had died with a fuel pump issue out on stage. First we had to do service for the other two cars:

Then Sean (they guy with the gold car, no longer running) and I jumped into the Sequoia with an empty trailer and headed out 50 miles to where Dan and Sammie were stuck. Along the way a large tree had falled over the road so we and a couple other drivers jumped out and lifted it up and threw it off the road (it was totally dead and not very heavy). Several other empty trailers were headed that way as well, since that stage killed 5-6 cars at least. As we turned off the main road and drove up the stage for a few miles to find Dan, things looked familiar. When we pulled up to Dan, I knew why.....it was the exact same spot Sweep pulled us to in 2018 where we waited for 4 hours for a tow home (Dan only had to wait an hour!)

us in 2018 at the same spot

So we loaded the car up and drove back to service

As it turned out, it was a wiring issue and they were able to get the car back up and running pretty quickly once Jesse dug into it. Sadly, between the previous day and this Dan was out of the running, and he was one of the class favorites to win.

The other cars pulled in for a final service with one stage to go. Chris with a bit of control arm damage and Kevin with a majorly-bent wheel.

Then they took off for the final stage and we packed up and headed back to rally HQ at Sunday River in time to catch them all approaching the final time control (end of rally)!

Very cool seeing all of our friends finish. But even cooler, Chris and Sara took home 1st place in Limited 2WD class!

here's some other random pics from the day

our friends TJ and Erin, took 1st in NA 4WD as well as won the overall Regional podium

Redline did some damage to Ken's cossie, but at least he didn't catch it on fire

(for those not following, David Higgins - the former SRT champion - took the win in a Barry McKenna Fiesta R5 while Pastrana crashed, Barry and Block broke their cars, and Semenuk crashed. So that was kind of neat to see Higgins come back and beat everyone else. Guy is a legend).

The Joshes with Mr. Gold Sean Costello

the teams

 

 

 

 

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/2/21 9:29 p.m.

In the morning I headed out early for a long 650-mile solo drive. Got held up for a while by these slowpokes

Almost ran out of gas in the middle of Vermont, and had to duck off the highway and find an old-school station about 5 miles down some twisty roads to fill up at.

Back through NYC where I beat Google's predicted time by 7 minutes, because I can still drive like a New Yorker

And made it home 11 hours almost on the dot. Over 1500 miles this week in the new rig (averaged 17mpg or so), and man, it's a great distance cruiser - a huge step up over the old one. Good times, etc etc etc. Go read Chris's thread, since it has actual rally action in it. NEFR crewing makes it VERY difficult to see any cars in action, and I set up service so Josh and the others could head out and get a bit of time watching the stages. Maybe we'll try NEFR again next year, TBD. For the time being we're likely going to do STPR if cashflow and COVID permits. 

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
8/3/21 6:36 a.m.

Thanks again for crewing and running "highway sweep" for us with the tow rig!

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/3/21 6:31 p.m.
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ said:

Thanks again for crewing and running "highway sweep" for us with the tow rig!

just paying back for the STPR mud pit lol...

--

So back to the car....after watching Downey's issues with fuel pump, decided to check out my wiring, even though it looked good when I replaced the fuel tank last year. So pulled down the underbody protection (HDPE sheet) and the pump and wiring look fine. However, found some rust holes in the floor - probably where wet stuff got trapped between the HDPE and floor. I replaced the passenger-size rear floor years ago with a full sheet, but that's harder with the cage in there and don't feel like pulling the seats. So decided to do it from underneath since it just needs a patch.

Cleaned it up (note the weldnut that holds the HDPE on)

Then cut out some scrap metal left over from an old HF tool chest 

And some ugly welding but who cares since nobody will ever see it

And seam-sealed it on the inside, so that should be that. Still need to do an alignment but other than that the car should be ready for the rallycross in a couple weeks, back at Panthera.

As to the future, with Nonacks running STPR, I've more or less decided to go for it as well, even though I'm pretty tight on the car finances at the moment thanks to dropping too much on the new tow rig (of course). But will scrape it up, since STPR is fun and we have a 2nd in class to defend (unlikely). Almost certain that means no rallycross nationals, even though I had hoped to do that this year....but between $2k for a stage rally and spending $1k+ to go to lousy Chilicothe Ohio again for a handful of rallycross runs, the choice is obvious (sorry Pete, Orion, and Evan). Plus this car has zero chance of doing well at rallycross these days anyhow. Maybe next year, co-driving with someone else. I love rallycross, but our local venues are awesome and close, so that's plenty. 

 

EvanB
EvanB GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/3/21 6:56 p.m.
irish44j (Forum Supporter) said:

Almost certain that means no rallycross nationals, even though I had hoped to do that this year....but between $2k for a stage rally and spending $1k+ to go to lousy Chilicothe Ohio again for a handful of rallycross runs, the choice is obvious (sorry Pete, Orion, and Evan). Plus this car has zero chance of doing well at rallycross these days anyhow. Maybe next year, co-driving with someone else. I love rallycross, but our local venues are awesome and close, so that's plenty. 

 

You can just beat me at Panthera instead. 

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/3/21 7:09 p.m.
EvanB said:
irish44j (Forum Supporter) said:

Almost certain that means no rallycross nationals, even though I had hoped to do that this year....but between $2k for a stage rally and spending $1k+ to go to lousy Chilicothe Ohio again for a handful of rallycross runs, the choice is obvious (sorry Pete, Orion, and Evan). Plus this car has zero chance of doing well at rallycross these days anyhow. Maybe next year, co-driving with someone else. I love rallycross, but our local venues are awesome and close, so that's plenty. 

 

You can just beat me at Panthera instead. 

you coming? SWEET :)

Hell, I haven't finished in the top-4 in my class yet this year....the people in this class are getting fast AF. That said, looking forward to Panthera since I enjoy it far more than Summit Point (which is getting pretty boring, honestly). 

EvanB
EvanB GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/3/21 7:35 p.m.

I'll be at a wedding in Virginia that Saturday so I'm going to do the rallycross Sunday on the way home. I've only been to two of the three local events this year and we might not have another till nationals so i need seat time.

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/4/21 8:26 p.m.

Put the car on the ground today to see if the fill of fresh fluid made the transmission feel less clunkly. It's really clunky between shifts. I mean, the G240 has never been "smooth" but it seems to have gotten worse over time.  Yep, still feels clunky, so I think I'm going to swap in one of my 2 other G240s (including the one that used to be in the car) to see if it's any better. 

- side thought - I wonder if the slip joint on the driveshaft isn't sliding smoothly....that could be causing the clunky feeling, I suppose. Well, I'll address that when the time comes. I want to drop the trans anyhow to check flywheel bolts, etc....after all the hassle with Downey's last weekend probably worth checking that stuff.

Anyhow, pulled the car back into the garage and it really had a strong gasoline smell from the engine bay. I'm used to catching a whiff of gas from the back where the vent is (no charcoal canister), and I previously snugged up the hose to the fuel regulator that had a small leak, but this smells stronger. After looking around, found the culprit:

I have a suspicion that this is the ONE small fuel hose I didn't replace when I did either the engine swap or the gas tank replacement, so pulled it off and sure enough, it looks REALLY old. Like, maybe original. No surprise it was leaking. It actually looked like it had sprayed a good amount on stuff on that side of the engine bay (exhaust is on the other side!).

So, replaced that hose with a fresh piece and tightened it up good.

I almost wonder if that's why I noticed what felt like fuel starvation/stumble at WOT/high rpms at the rallysprint. Thought it might have been in my head, but maybe if fuel was leaking it wasn't getting sufficient pressure at WOT. IDK, guess we'll see. 

Then decided to start taking apart stuff to get the tranmission out. Unlike Downey's big ZF, which was hard to get to the starter bolts and other stuff, the G240 leaves room to get to things, so just have to do "the process."

Will pull the transmission maybe tomorrow of this weekend and put another one in. I have a few weeks before the next rallycross so if I have to try the 3rd transmission, I may do that. TBD. 

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
8/4/21 9:02 p.m.
irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/4/21 9:46 p.m.

After looking more closely at finances and other commitments (and the fact that I will have the dog solo that week and can't bring him to STPR), probably changing my mind and won't run it this year, even though I really want to. Logistically and financially just not really gonna make sense, though may run up for the days of the rally itself and crew or specatate, IDK.

Looking at things, may think about doing New York Forest Rally in October - which is kind of just a really long rally sprint full of Irish guys in Fiesta R2s, but whatever. It's a single-day rally with a fairly low entry fee, and not too far away. So that may be a better option situationally (also, no rallycrosses in October, so I'll want something to do). Sounds like there may be another Rausch Creek rallysprint in early September so that might make up a little bit for not doing STPR. 

Real life, real commitments....these things are annoying. It would be nice to just be rich and do all the things I want to do :/

Lof8 - Andy
Lof8 - Andy GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
8/5/21 7:35 a.m.
irish44j (Forum Supporter) said:

Real life, real commitments....these things are annoying. It would be nice to just be rich and do all the things I want to do :/

QFT!

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/21/21 6:26 p.m.

And, as I am wont to do....changed my mind/plans again. With STPR reduced to a 1-day event this year due to some road permit issues, that changes the timeline for me - and makes it so I can probably leave the dog with someone. Usually STPR would be a Wednesday through Sunday thing....long recce and 2 days of racing. This year it's mostly on the WM property (where we do the Winter Rally). This has two upsides - First, recce is quick and easy. Second, we've done like 35 passes of the general course and know it well. Also it makes it more like a Friday through Sunday rally. And the price is about 1/3rd of usual. Yeah, it's basically a rallysprint (65 stage miles vice about double that for regular STPR), but that's actually more convenient for me, so we're gonna do it.

Also, heard some rumors New York Forest Rally may not happen (something about part of the property it runs on being sold), so don't want to hold out for that.

NASA also announced the comeback of Black River Stages - on the same date as STPR. Seems like kind of a dick move to me, since they're only 2-3 hours apart and that will split the entry, but also seems like something Anders would do just to stick it to ARA. Or maybe that was the only available date, IDK. Seems intentional, and with a limited rally community in the US at the moment, the last thing we need is the organizations actively trying to screw each other. (incidentally, I've heard rumors of SCCA pushign harder to get back into the rally game, but who knows). Black River is where we started rallying and it's some great stages. But NASA still requires a separate license and membership, and a medical physical, to compete and not gonna deal with that stuff any more as long as ARA has good rallies in the region to do.

So, STPR it is. The car is ready (I think) and we're staying in a place with the Nonacks, Dan Downey/Sammie, and ?? - so should be fun with some of our favorite RWD Rally friends there to run with/against. 

Before that happens, next weekend is DC RallyCross's return to Panthera, for the first time this season. I'm pretty happy about that, since Panthera is a lot more fun than Summit Point (and I also tend to do better). So hopefully the weather is good and we get to do that next weekend for 2 days!

 

paperpaper
paperpaper Reader
8/21/21 8:16 p.m.

In reply to irish44j (Forum Supporter) :

Not the same spot i stopped. 

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

In reply to paperpaper :

99.9% sure it was. I mean, it was the same stage ending at the same place, wasn't it?

adam525i
adam525i GRM+ Memberand Dork
8/22/21 8:20 a.m.

Did you find the clunky feeling G240 was low on fluid when you went to fill it up? I chased a bad fluid leak on my G260 for way to long that only appeared on track where I was braking hard and downshifting with a lot of RPM on the input shaft resulting in the trans sending fluid out the vent. Most of this would drop down the side and enter the bellhousing through the slave hole and make it's way out at the bottom there looking like an input shaft seal issue. A quick google image search shows your G240 likely has that same E36 M3ty plastic vent cap that the 260 uses, I popped that off and ran a 12 mm id hose up into the engine bay with a simple breather filter on the end. Now with fluid forced up the vent it can just drop back down into the trans and the vent is filtered to keep garbage out. This is common for the SpecE30 guys to do and where I eventually found my solution.

It might be worth doing on your car, I could see with all the banging around in a rally causing a similar issue just not to the same degree, after a while though resulting in low fluid levels and with the vent open extra dirt in there.

I also just switched to Redline 75W140ns trans fluid in my car, I was expecting to drop it right back out as it was so much thicker than the RP Synchromesh, MTL and MT-85 I had tried with decent shifting results. Super smooth shifting from "cold" (70 F ambient) and the trans is noticeably quieter, definitely an improvement and makes the 400,000 km trans feel really good.

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/22/21 8:18 p.m.

One of the first things I ever did to this car was swap out the stock shifter for the Z3 OEM shifter setup, which I've used ever since. It's nicer than the e30 one, but has always been sloppy, even with solid bushings. After driving Dan and Kevin's cars at NEFR, decided to order the same shifter they have, the PMC shifter, made in Poland. It's relatively inexpensive (about half the price of the AKG) and they seem to like it. They got theirs from the US distributor, but they only sell the polished silver ones and you all know I like my black. So I got mine direct from Poland in black (for the same price, but took a few weeks to get). It came in this morning:

Bascially, it sits in the recess where the stock one goes, so no cutting or drilling, and has a lower collar that basically locates it. So, out with the well-used and very dirty z3 shifter assembly:

And in with the new one. For the moment I'm using the stock linkage (which I modified to the right length for the M50+G240 setup), but I'll probably built a DSSR-style linkage in the near future to tighten things up further. Anyhow, it's installed and it works fine. Will take some getting used to, but for the upcoming rallycross it's not like I do a ton of shifting, so will have time to get some practice.

And of course, put some stickers on it. Looked a bit boring.

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/22/21 8:25 p.m.
adam525i said:

Did you find the clunky feeling G240 was low on fluid when you went to fill it up? I chased a bad fluid leak on my G260 for way to long that only appeared on track where I was braking hard and downshifting with a lot of RPM on the input shaft resulting in the trans sending fluid out the vent. Most of this would drop down the side and enter the bellhousing through the slave hole and make it's way out at the bottom there looking like an input shaft seal issue. A quick google image search shows your G240 likely has that same E36 M3ty plastic vent cap that the 260 uses, I popped that off and ran a 12 mm id hose up into the engine bay with a simple breather filter on the end. Now with fluid forced up the vent it can just drop back down into the trans and the vent is filtered to keep garbage out. This is common for the SpecE30 guys to do and where I eventually found my solution.

It might be worth doing on your car, I could see with all the banging around in a rally causing a similar issue just not to the same degree, after a while though resulting in low fluid levels and with the vent open extra dirt in there.

I also just switched to Redline 75W140ns trans fluid in my car, I was expecting to drop it right back out as it was so much thicker than the RP Synchromesh, MTL and MT-85 I had tried with decent shifting results. Super smooth shifting from "cold" (70 F ambient) and the trans is noticeably quieter, definitely an improvement and makes the 400,000 km trans feel really good.

Nope, it's never leaked much, just a little bit from the output shaft seal and the shift selector seal, and I've always kept it full and fresh. The G240 uses ATF, and guys who use heavier stuff in them have issues shifting, especially in the winter. The old transmission was 30 years old and has been beaten on for 10 years, so no surprise it's sloppy. The "new" one is also 30 years old, but less sloppy. One of these days I'll pick up a G250....but I do have one more G240 to kill first :)

Also, I've never seen any evidence of leakage from the breather. The G240 actually has a metal cap (I assume it's a better design since it's a much newer transmission (well, 10 years newer at least) than the G260. It may have some kind of internal design that keeps the fluid from getting up there too. 

adam525i
adam525i GRM+ Memberand Dork
8/22/21 10:02 p.m.

In reply to irish44j (Forum Supporter) :

Yeah, stick with the ATF if it's working. I think those newer metal style vents have somewhat of a check valve built into them so probably just a couple of drops get out if any before it shuts and you'd never notice that.

I used this thread as inspiration when I built my dssr to get rid of all the play in the stock setup. Instead of all the fancy tube in the middle I just used the 1" square tube to make up the hole things (so just drilled 10 mm holes in either end at the right length and carved them up for clearance for the shifter and selector). For the ends there is just enough room for a stock BMW yellow plastic washer on either side to take up the play, I used 10 mm shoulder bolts (mine were allen heads so I ground flats in the trans end one so I could use a normal wrench with the tight access) from McMaster along with locking nuts so they wouldn't back off rather than clips like the stock setup. It doesn't need to look fancy, you're the only one that will see it! You'll come up with something that works for you though.

I still had some play in the 6 mm shaft that holds rod joint to the selector shaft as the hole in the selector shaft was worn, I drilled both out to 1/4" and used a matching shaft (once again McMaster but you could sacrifice a 1/4" drill bit). I'm down to just internal play in the trans at this point so I've called it good.

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/23/21 4:42 p.m.

Nice, that's not far off how I planned to build the DSSR (plenty of 1" square steel sitting around from roof rack builds).  Thanks.  I do think a good amount of my play is in the selector shaft itself, so may look into what you did if I keep the G240 for too much longer. 

AWSX1686 (Forum Supporter)
AWSX1686 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
8/24/21 10:15 a.m.

In reply to irish44j (Forum Supporter) :

I also saw that thread when manual swapping my e46 and building a DSSR. Good info. 

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/29/21 7:33 p.m.

BACK TO PANTHERA

Everyone very excited as we headed back to our favorite RallyCross venue, Panthera Training Complex, which was closed to the public since COVID started and finally allowed us to come back. Panthera is one of the biggest, fastest, and most fun rallycross venues in the Eastern US with a ton of elevation change and all kinds of course setups. This weekend was a doubleheader (2 single events), and the Mod RWD class  had 15 or 16 entries, but missing points leader Stephen Nichols (at a wedding) and his co-driver Chris Helgesen, as well as Chris Nonack. In addition to the rest of the MR usuals we had  former national champ Evan Arthur in town from Ohio with his turbo Miata and Rick Landis down from PA with his BR-Z. 

Day 1 was on the backside of the venue, which is basically a huge series of S-curves running down the mountain, with almost all the turns blind so you really have to be ready to react to unseen (or unremembered) cones, and this course favors those who have good feel for their cars moreso than those who can "read a course" autocross-style. Most of the time we run the course uphill, but this time we ran top-to bottom so braking into corners would be an important consideration. Plus, it was hot. like.....Baja hot. Which meant a lot of dust and at this venue 90+ temps result in a lot of powdery moon-dust on and off the race line, making for some tricky corners. Did I mention it was HOT????

From the very start, me and Eric Eisele (his e30 also recently fitted with a suspension setup similar to my previous setup, a big upgrade from their past suspension) jumped out on top and pretty quickly got a bit of a lead on the rest of the class. That really didn't change all day, as I think the two of us went back and forth for first/second for the entirety. About halfway through Nick's M3 had a diff bolt break so he jumped in with me for the rest of the day.  With 3 runs to go I had a 1-second lead but picked up a cone (my only one of the day), so the lead flipped as me and Eric were running almost identical times. Next run he picked up his only cone of the day and the lead flipped back to me. The last run we both laid down flyers, but again pretty much the same time, and I eaked out a 1-second win for the day - my first win of the season (I do much better at Panthera than Summit, generally). Nick was in like 6th when his car broke, but managed to move up to 3rd in my car. Go figure, the big M3 doesn't like tight/technical downhill courses where it can't use its power. 

[img]https://i.imgur.com/rUUupp1h.jpg[/img]

With the day over, everyone started to hang out and I rinsed myself off with the new rooftop shower on the tow rig (which is AWESOME by the way).....and then of cours the rain came. There wasn't much rain forecasted, but the forecast was dead wrong. It rained HARD for probably about 3 hours, then stopped, and then poured for another hour. A lot of people bailed out immediately to their hotels (even some who were planning to camp out). A few crazies got caught out changing tires in the middle of it

I had already put my 12x12 pop-up out for the sunny day, so that came in handy as a bunch of people ended up under it.

Others after the 95-degree dusty day were openly taking showers in the rain.  or just walked around in swim trunks drinking

Others were trying to replace an oil pan on another e30 that had gotten cracked (which they did)

So a number of us just hung out under the popup and drank the evening away with my truck floodlights giving us some light

Though I'm usually a hotel-dweller, decided for once to camp out. And by camp out, I mean car-camp (incidentally everyone who had tents set up slept in a few inches of water, there was no way around it). The Sequoia cargo area is almost 8' long with the seats down, and an air mattress fits perfectly. I slept well, and stayed dry.

 

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/29/21 7:58 p.m.

Day 2

 

Next morning broke a bit foggy with occasional sun

There was a lot of debate on whether to actually run due to the 4+ inches of rain that fell. Unlike Summit, which just pools water everywhere and saturates the clay, Panthera is rockier and most of the "BIG" course seemed ok, other than a few of the lower loops we had hoped to use. We started a bit later and decided to just to two big 2 1/2-hour run groups (ended up with 8 total runs on a very big course). The "big" course at Panthera is on the other side of the "mountain" and is probably one of the longer rallycross courses in the country if the full thing is uses. We used about 2/3rds of it today plus the top section of the backside, which made for some long runs. 

OH....so I'll jump back and mention that the new shifter I put into the car last week? Well.....linkage is a bit off in length and I had a TON of trouble with 1-2 shifts all weekend (so, basically at the start since I don't use 1st on course MUCH). My first 3 runs on Saturday I literally spend 2-3 seconds trying to find 2nd and it almost cost me the win (for later runs I just launched in 2nd).

Sunday I decided to go easier off the line and on the first run my 1-2 shift at start was ok. However, this course has a well-known downhill-into-pin turn -into-uphill. I'm generally very good at this turn, and I usualy drop into 1st to rotate the car and make a fast exit back up the hill. So on my first run of course I did this. Mistake. I couldn't get back into 2nd as I coasted around the trun and scrubbed speed up the hill until I finally got back into gear and finished. Result: 3-seconds slower than the top half of the class. Damn.

After the first run I went to chat with someone  for like 2 minutes and then jumped back in the car (which had been idling) for my next run. Glanced down and immedialy noticed the coolant temp gauge pegged (!!!). Shut the car down immediately thinking it might just be a glitch or something. Let it cool for a minute and then restarted and immediately saw steam from the hood. Shut it down again but with electrical still on and couldn't hear my fan running. I literally just rebuilt all the fan electrical after a similar issue earlier this year. Figuring it had just boiled over at the reservoir I opened the hood....

That's not from the reservoir, it's from under the IM. Too steamy to check it out at the time, but looks like it was the 4-"prong" heater splitter hose (or that's what I think it is at the moment) must have split or something. The head/block were dry so not HG. Firewall dry so didn't come off there. But it was clearly leaking super-hot coolant under the IM so that pretty much has to be the culprit. MOre on that later when I take the IM off.

So.....with a couple other cars already out from other issues (including Nick's M3, which is one of the few other single-driver cars in our class), I kind of wandered around to see if anyone had a seat. Brian "tiny" Folsom offered up a seat in his in-the-works M50-swapped 318Ti, which I've been giving him advice on for a few months as he builds it for stage. Nick was already co-driving with him but Brian got the OK to triple-up.  The car has the power and brakes, but he hasn't done suspension on it yet so it's pretty much just stock-ish stuff with Blistein HDs. Overall, I thought it felt pretty decent and I ran a couple times about a second off the leader pace (as did Nick, I think). Buut....on Nick's 3rd run in the car it cut off on course and would not restart (issue TBD later, but was not determined at the venue...the joys of a new build with a 25-year-old car). At this point EVERY car in the class had two drivers pretty much other than a few guys I don't know well. I was almost resigned to just call it a day when Eric Eisele offered to triple up in his car (already dual-driven with Tom Gsell, usually a MA guy, whose car I drove at the last event0.

- side note, this is what's awesome about DC rallycross....everyone looking out for each other -

So we hot-lapped Eric's car for the rest of the day. In terms of driving dynamics, it feels a LOT like mine, but with a bit less power (M20) and a bit less weight (gutted interior, no cage), and the same tires I was using. From the start I found it easy and intuitive to drive and Eric and I started putting down good times near the top of the pack, even while riding with passengers every run. Long story short, there were about four of us fighting a close battle for 2nd. Mike Golden won that battle in his 2ZZZ-swapped MR2 that's always fast but always cone-y. Well today he drove clean and passed me on his last run with the fastest run in the group for the day (I think), beating me for 2nd by 0.1 second - and my last run was very fast too. The class winner was a DC first-timer (at least in his current car), Rick Landis who runs up in Pennsylvania usually in his BRZ. He apparently made no mistakes all day and ran consistent fast times on every single run, and won the entire class by 5 seconds. I think that's the first *new* MR class winner we've had here in DC in 3-4 years, as far as I can recall. Thank goodness he only comes to occasional events down here since it's 5 hours from his house, lol.

So we wrapped up ane Eric gave me a tow back to the paddock

Will address the coolant hose issue, the fan issue, and the shifter issue at some point this week. 3 weeks until STPR, so plenty of time (knock on wood). 

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/30/21 6:12 p.m.

started to dig into the above-mentioned issues today, even though I wasn't looking forward to it considering the location. First off, time to find the coolant leak. I could see from the steam basically where it was - dead-center under the intake manifold. Only two things with coolant are in that area: 1) I blew out the head gasket or 2) the "spider" hose for the heater, which was brand-new when I swapped this engine in less than 3 years ago. 

A quick lookaround with a mirror and light showed no evidence of any coolant from the HG area, so on to the spider hose. It's pretty tight under there and the hose definitly touches other things, but when I put this together I tried to wrap the hose with "armor" in those placed, but figured I must have missed something. However, that wasn't the case.....dusty engine shows where liquid once was...

So, the spider hose, but not where I expected. This hose connects to 4 places - 2 of which are a huge PITA to get to with the IM on. But taking the IM off is a huge PITA too, so crammed my hands under there and somehow got it off (thankful I specifically oriented all the hose clames so I could get to them with a long screwdriver from above). 

And here's the leak...split right between the two hoses in an area that *feels* very reinforced and thick. Go figure. 

I'll have to look and see what brand this was. I know it wasn't OEM since I'm too cheap to drop $150 on a hose, but knowing me I probably got the cheapest one, stupidly. So, a new one is on the way (no, still not OEM, but got one of the higher-end aftermarket ones) so hopefully it was just a manufacturing defect or something since that doesn't seem like an area that *should* split.

Putting the new one in will be even more fun than taking the old one out :/

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