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CrookedRacer Reader
5/9/18 8:36 p.m.

So the next event is Hyper-Fest at VIR May 18-20.

My plan is to install all new brake lines and a new master cylinder. I want really solid brakes and pedal feel. It's something this car has never had, and I don't know what the cause is, but now that I have fully rebuilt calipers, I might as well replace every other potential culprit.

I'm also going to disconnect the heater core. That should help because no matter how I set the controls, the heat is always on in the car. I can't abide that anymore.

I purchased a set of "cookie cutter" wheels from Just Joshin' Used Porsche 944 Parts, and I'm cleaning them up. They're nice and straight, but a few of them are covered in a black rubber-like paint that doesn't come off with stripper, and doesn't peel off like plasti-dip. It just sucks.

These weigh about 17 pounds each, as opposed to my 16" phone dials which are about 24 pounds each.

I'm also going to wrap them in 225/50-15 Hoosier R7's which weigh about 3 pounds less than the 245/45-16 Toyo RR's I was running.

So that's shedding a quick 40 pounds of rotating, unsprung weight, and I'll GAIN a modification point that I can use to reduce my minimum competition weight to 2794 pounds.

CrookedRacer Reader
5/9/18 8:44 p.m.

On the last Sunday in April, I towed the car to jh36's place and we fixed the flywheel. It was a rewarding 12 hours of wrenching.

We had moments of doubt, moments of triumph, and ultimately, I retained the lightweight aluminum flywheel in the car, and it runs!

jh36 summed it up nicely:

[CrookedRacer] was wheels down right at 9:00AM and we moved his car onto the lift.  

Our mission was to either fix the reference point on the aluminum flywheel, or replace with a stock flywheel.  Either way, we had to take the drivetrain off.  Axles, transaxle, exhaust all came off.  We hit a bump in the road with the “ears” on the torque tube which did not allow us to move the bell housing back far enough to take the clutch and flywheel off.  [CrookedRacer] sawed the ears off the tube which is an excellent mod that I will be doing to my car…it makes a lot more room.

We pulled the bellhousing, clutch and flywheel without too much trouble once we modded the torque tube,

The aluminum flywheel went into the oven ([wife and daughter were] at a ballet recital) for about 25 minutes on 475F.  (see image)  We pulled it out, hit it with a torch for good measure and BAM….the screw almost fell out.  We cut a ¼-20 bolt and loc-tite-ed it in, taking into consideration the diameter difference between the stock wheel and the aluminum wheel. 

Put everything back together and VROOOOM, she fired up on the first turn.  [CrookedRacer] drove the car onto the trailer and the day ended well!

As usual, it took longer than we thought.  There is a lot of stock wiring and plumbing in [CrookedRacer's] car which is harder to work around, and also the late cars are just a little more difficult in my opinion…..but it all worked out.

I would add that a lot of things went unexpectedly perfectly, like finding the pilot bearing with the driveshaft spline on the first try. That never seems to happen. And the driveshaft and transaxle splines mated up perfectly too.

We also had dark moments when we referred to "clarks-garage.com" for reassurance that certain things were actually possible to do.

A great day overall.

CrookedRacer Reader
5/18/18 5:27 p.m.

Here we are at Hyperfest at VIR! "This is just miserable!" remarked a certain GRM operations manager who shall remain anonymous... for now.

It is raining. Hard. And the Power Wheels downhill attack has been postponed until Saturday evening.

That gives us enough time to get some glamor shots of our rides.


Ed Higginbotham
Ed Higginbotham Associate Editor
5/20/18 3:59 p.m.

Thanks to CrookedRacer for providing us with rides for the Power Wheels race. I think I barely edged out Andy Lally (in the blue shoes) in the championship race. CrookedRacer can set up my Power Wheels racer anytime!

Got a couple shots of CrookedRacer in the race yesterday, too.

CrookedRacer Reader
5/21/18 5:03 a.m.

Thanks Ed! These are great!

The power wheels event was a weekend highlight for sure. More pics and video to come

I can't wait to see the pro video crew's product too. Last year's was pretty cool.

Here's Ed, waiting forever for this thing to start!

CrookedRacer Reader
5/25/18 6:59 a.m.


I test fit a wheel as a sanity check before actually getting my new Hoosiers mounted on them.


Then I picked them up. They look pretty badass. I made the mistake of ordering the Spec944 size which is 225/50-15. What I probably should have bought was 225/45-15’s. I didn’t even realize that was available. Oh well. Next time I’ll post here for advice BEFORE buying.


On Friday morning I finally got everything on the truck and got on the road. New reflective tape all over the trailer, by the way. It really makes a difference in being seen. I’m not sure why it isn’t mandatory.

The first order of business was purchasing a FIA rain light for the car in case the sessions were wet. It was a likely possibility, and fortunately I was able to score one of the last rain lights at the TMI Motorsports store at the track. I wired it into the running lights and I was good to go:


I scored a spot in a really nice neighborhood alongside the Track Monkey Apparel crew. Thanks Jack!

I hadn’t gotten much sleep over the past few days. And I was nervous about the car and whether it would survive even five minutes out on track. Warm-up was on a wet track which always makes me a little more tense.

Getting ready for VIR was so stressful and tiring that by the time Saturday’s sessions came up I was really questioning why I was doing this. I could have driven to VIR and just helped someone else out, with a lot less stress.

Qualifying and the race itself on Saturday were mostly dry, but I still felt tentative. So at various times during the day I thought hard about how I might liquidate my racing gear and gracefully depart the sport altogether. I wasn’t feeling the Joy.


CrookedRacer Reader
7/9/18 7:14 p.m.

Sorry about that. I didn't mean to leave everyone hanging on the edge of their seats for so long...

By the end of qualifying on Saturday at Hyperfest, I had found my mojo. With some more aggressive driving (trusting the Hoosiers will stick), I was able to shave the times to within three or four seconds of the leaders. Which is fine.

I had a great weekend and the car did well until the long Sunday race when the lower rad hose popped off and made me spin out on my own coolant (just water, but still...)  TWICE. Here's the second one:

Um... someone tell that car it's pointing the wrong way.

Fortunately the car continued its spin to the outside grass where there was plenty of runoff.

Fortunately I didn't cause problems for anyone else.

Fortunately the external oil cooler kept the engine cool enough that nothing serious was seriously overcooked. That external oil cooler literally saved the engine.

So I was a pretty fortunate guy that day.



CrookedRacer Reader
7/9/18 7:28 p.m.

During the Hyperfest @ VIR weekend I dyno'ed the car. It made 138 whp, which is a couple less than it did before my engine rebuild. I'm not terribly happy about that but I guess it's possible that the engine was a strong one to begin with... and since then, the full headers were returned to stock headers. That could explain the 2 hp loss.

The highlight of the weekend had to be the Power Wheels Downhill Attack.

One guy couldn't keep his steed on all fours... and that was just sitting in the parking lot:

Not everyone emerged unscathed:

But everyone had a good time.

On my way home, no matter which way I go, there's a Bojangles on the way home. It's my one or two times a year kind of thing...

 Hyperfest 2018 at VIR is a wrap.

CrookedRacer Reader
7/26/18 11:52 a.m.

I just got back from PITT RACE, which is an awesome track!

To get ready, I changed out the break-in oil and filter, which had just a bit of shimmer, but no more than I've seen on any other oil change. Hooray for what must have been decent bearing clearances!

At VIR I lost one of my front grease caps, so I re-packed the bearings and replaced the cap with a used one from Just Joshin' Used Porsche 944 Parts.

My muffler had shifted a bit and was rattling pretty badly, so I sorted it with a different hanger bushing to isolate it better.

I sent my provisional license in with its requisite four punches, and got back my "hard card" competition license from NASA.

All in all, I was as ready for a track weekend as I ever was.

CrookedRacer Reader
7/26/18 12:14 p.m.

This weekend was a joint event with NASA Great Lakes Region. We had fantastic weather with a dry track all weekend (however in DC it rained a foot).

The track itself is really fun. Top three tracks for me. VIR, Watkins Glen, Pitt Race. Then again, I've only driven five tracks in all. Six if you count both tracks at SP. It's almost all turns, and you don't have much of a chance to catch your breath because the straights are fairly short with tricky crests in the braking zones. But it has a lot of fun elevation changes, blind corners, and practically new pavement. Very smooth.

I also don't think we should discount the facilities... they're the nicest I've seen at any track I've been to. Beautiful classroom, meeting areas, timing and scoring, hospitality venue, tech, garages, and bathrooms that smelled nicer than I did to begin with. I didn't get over to the BBQ vending truck, but I saw people carrying cheese fries that looked amazing. There was offsite gas/food/ice just 2 miles away, too. They had a really nice PA system above the winner's circle / drivers meeting area that oddly went underused (something about harshing the announcer's "chi"). And man, the place had paddock space for DAYS.

Personally, I had a bad Saturday. I missed warmup fussing with my transponder. Finding my way around the track in qualifying, I was too slow to get a clean lap even if I could remember where the track was. Finally, I pitted in early during the actual race because I was afraid my left front wheel was falling off. Turns out it was just a bunch of rubber I picked up off the track. I was feeling pretty bad about this reputation I've developed for not finishing races.

Sunday was awesome though. I got more comfortable with the track and my car, and I learned a few places where I could go way faster thanks to riding along with my friend in his M3 during one of his HPDE-4 sessions. Both Sunday races were clean, but it felt really good to be able to hang with "jh36" for as long as I did during Sunday Race 3. I feel like Mid-Atlantic PTE came to visit Great Lakes PTE for a play date... and then we just played our own game all by ourselves (because we were all so much slower than the GL PTE group). I'm so glad we stayed for the last race.

My arms got tired during and after that last race. A combination of constant turning and no power steering... I have to hit the gym.

CrookedRacer Reader
7/26/18 12:25 p.m.

This weekend I completed enough races to lose the "R-for-Rookie" plate from my car. So hopefully I won't get hazed so badly by the Miatas. Then again, Miatas will be Miatas.

I also posted a video of the last Sunday race to YouTube. My camera wasn't mounted in the best of places, and the resolution/zoom setting wasn't optimal either. So the interior of the car takes up a lot of screen real estate.

But it's exciting racing for the first three turns, and for the next few laps it's clear where I'd lose ground to my friends Rob (purple) and jh36 (orange), and where I was able to reel them back in. It really felt good that I was still right there with them after 4 laps or so.

Pitt Race Sunday Lightning Race #3

CrookedRacer Reader
7/28/18 8:03 p.m.

Goodbye Performance Tuning "E"...   Hello Super Tuning "6"!

PTE is going away at the end of this season, and the other PTE drivers (944’s and hondas and miatas included) are going to begin building to Super Touring (ST6) rules right away, or at least as soon as they drop this month. The plan is to run the rest of the season in ST5, which will allow us to develop and test the cars well before the start of next season. So I guess we’ll consider the rest of this season a huge Test n’ Tune.

Personally I’m a little sad about that because I felt like I was finally on a level playing field with the other 944’s. Now we’ll all have to lose weight and gain power, but their cars are already full-on race cars… Mine’s still full of street trim, so it’ll be harder for me.

I refuse to drive VIR in August without a cool suit, and since I don’t have a cool suit, I’m skipping that event. I’ll run VIR in October (beautiful) and then Summit Point in November. I might do a DE at Watkins Glen in September, because OMG that place is nice in the fall.

Regardless of what class I run in, I still have to put my car on a diet. Starting NOW.

So the dashboard, instruments, heater core, a/c evaporator coil, blower, and any excess wiring I can find has GOT TO GO:

So far, so good. I got this.

Very nice! Still looks manageable.

I had to take a sawzall to the dash on each end so that it would clear the cage, which cannot be removed now that it has been modified with the additional door bars.

Wow, that heater unit made some nice room!

Well, that escalated quickly.

My God, what have I done?


CrookedRacer Reader
7/28/18 8:06 p.m.

Rut roh.

CrookedRacer Reader
8/10/18 7:42 p.m.

So I'm going to reduce the main shutoff switches from two to one. There's a 6-pole unit at the battery, with a remote cable at the base of the windshield on the driver's side. And there's a two pole unit on the console that only kills the battery grounds.

The new system will have that same 6-pole cutoff switch just inside the passenger door on the firewall, reachable from the driver's seat and from outside, through the window. I'll set up a remote pull just inside the driver door, easily reachable from the outside on that side as well.

sad  The ad for this car said "impeccable build", and every time I delve into something on this car, I have to mutter to myself,

"...that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

Why use just one roll of electrical tape on a "junction" when they come in packs of three?

And... garden hose is surprisingly heavy. It'll be good to be rid of that.

And more impeccable build quality here, at the 3-ohm resistor that's supposed to safely drain down the alternator when you kill the engine:

Love the wire nuts.

Anyway, here's a new design for most of this part of the circuitry.

In the old circuitry, there were two ignition switches in series... the OEM key-operated one, and the red-shrouded toggle switch at the console. BOTH had to be in the on position to run the car. There was also a push-to-start button and the OEM key-operated momentary start position in parallel. Either one would fire up the starter.

In the new circuit, I'll eliminate the console one and replace the OEM key ignition with toggle switches for ignition, starter, and accessories on the main instrument panel.

All using the stock fuse panel for everything.

CrookedRacer Reader
8/10/18 7:55 p.m.

I really needed some instant gratification on this to keep me going. So I cleaned up the wires from the driver's A-pillar all the way to the back of the car. I used split loom which seems to weigh nothing at all.

I retained the stop lights, backup lights, and the tail light circuit which I'm using for the FIA rain light. Everything else is gone. License plate lights, side markers, remote hatch release, etc.

I've been doing 45 minutes of work on the wiring every morning, and I've been making satisfying progress.

Here's 45 minutes-worth of wire, switches, clips, tape, and so forth:

I know I can't keep that pace up forever. As I get nearer and nearer to the minimum wiring for running, I take more and more time to study the drawings.

CrookedRacer Reader
8/11/18 6:23 p.m.

I looked up what some aluminum sheet would cost at the local supplier, and was dismayed that it would set me back a hundred bucks.

So I went to Value Village looking for some aluminum cookie sheets but instead found this hastily made coffee table...

That’s .105 thick. Ten bucks.

No extra charge for the gum someone stuck to the underside.

A little straightening and hammering, and I’ve got a suitable instrument panel blank.



CrookedRacer Reader
8/11/18 6:34 p.m.

I plan to reuse the dash as a frame for my instrument panel.

After removing everything below the main opening and all the ducting,

I an a little closer to what I’m after.

And I began working on the shape of the insert...

It’s going to take a lot of trial and error to come up with a shape that fills the space and can be physically inserted without tearing everything up.

CrookedRacer Reader
8/12/18 7:28 p.m.

So the dash is fairly well trimmed to size... I supported it in place with whatever I could find in the garage just long enough so I could do some Cardboard Aided Design (CAD).

I started with the right bracket, which was just one bend.

It got riveted to this handy vertical dash support, and hangs on the right-hand HVAC support stud.

Then the more complicated one on the left. I used one of the existing bends on the coffee table to cut a corner, so to speak.

So the dash is in place. I just need to figure out how to support it from the steering column, and I also plan on fabricating a center console that supports it from the torque tube tunnel.

CrookedRacer Reader
10/13/18 3:20 p.m.

I wanted to get the car ready for VIR in October. That seemed like a do-able goal. But I ordered some VDO gauges from JEGS and they kept sliding the delivery date. I eventually gave up, cancelled my order, and put the old instrument panel back in.

Meanwhile, it was a very wet September.

That's probably half a dozen kinds of deadly mold, but I prefer the saying...

"A rolling race car gathers no moss."

CrookedRacer Reader
10/13/18 3:27 p.m.

So I built a bracket for the steering column and threw in the old instrument cluster. I'm still trying to make it to Summit Point in November, after all.

And I made a blank panel to fill the space to its right. I also wrapped up the wiring to the computer...

Then I cut out some holes to fit the electrical things.

The new high-amperage cutoff switch design eliminates the battery cutoff switch that was on the console before. I've moved the engine+battery cutoff switch from the battery box area (under the hood) to the instrument panel inside the car. It is now my only switch.

But I replaced the remote pull with a tractor shutoff from Amazon:

CrookedRacer Reader
10/13/18 3:35 p.m.

I bought some ties on Amazon that I thought would be great to utilize the factory studs that are all over the car. Unfortunately they don't work because the factory studs are a little short and not thick enough. They don't grab on.

They work in a couple places on the car where the posts are more like M5 or so. But I was really sad because they would have made life wonderful.

If anyone has a good source for the post-style ties that don't require a separate nut, let me know!

CrookedRacer Reader
10/13/18 3:42 p.m.

There are a few holes left behind from the AC/Heater Delete... The biggest one, obviously, is the blower hole.

This is a piece of galvanized sheet I found sitting around. I forget why I had it but it was perfect. I strengthened it a little with a screwdriver handle along a straight edge. So it's just perfect. All it needs is some RTV to seal it up.

Also there was the heater core pass-through on the firewall:

This had a nice bracket that I re-used. The heavy wire coming through is the starter "hot" cable which gets run to the cut-off switch. It used to go along the cowl to the battery box, but it needed a shortcut to the new kill switch location.

Here's the nice bracket and the plate I used to fill it:

Sparkydog Reader
10/14/18 12:25 a.m.
CrookedRacer said:

If anyone has a good source for the post-style ties that don't require a separate nut, let me know!

I bought about 30 of these which are clones of the factory ties. Panduit PN PLST50SC-D30 ; Mouser PN: 644-PLST50SC-D30 8 inch length Approx $0.35 each before shipping.

HyperspaceTurd New Reader
10/15/18 12:59 p.m.

This isnt just a great 944 thread, it's an awesome club racer how-to! Thanks for the awesome work, pics and writing. This was a very enjoyable read so far. Wish you the best!

CrookedRacer Reader
10/16/18 7:14 a.m.

In reply to Sparkydog :

Thanks! I’ll be ordering a few of those. Perfect!

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