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wae
wae UberDork
4/24/21 7:09 a.m.

With the first event "postponed" due to the rain that I assume is falling out in BFE wherever this venue is, today's plans changed to helping Tim dispose of a body, doing some literal house cleaning, and perhaps laying a box or two of tile.  Before doing any of that, though, I woke up at about 0515 and couldn't get back to sleep so I came out to Toiletbird Industries to see about wrapping up the car.  The passenger side door card, sill, and A-pillar trim is on and now there are two doors that close with a very satisfying "thump".  In order to test out the gauges, I used it as a garbage scow to take the trash out to the dumpster and then drove up to Autozone to return a battery core that I had sitting around.  Gauges work, it makes a rather serious amount of oil pressure, and after "repairing" the cluster, the tach jumps around even more than it did before, so I'm not sure I did that right.  Of course the speedometer is still non-functional.  What I did discover, however, is that about 98.73% of the rattling and clanging that the car made when going down the road was apparently completely attributable to the windows.  It's way more pleasant to drive now, even with no headliner, carpet, or rear seat or trim installed.  I also tightened up the power steering belt so it doesn't protest when trying to turn the wheels at low speeds anymore.

What makes it fundamentally unpleasant still is the fact that if you put the clutch in too fast when coming to a stop or aren't super-ginger about applying throttle when you start moving from a stop, the car will stall.  Also the lack of speedometer is very irritating.  Instead of running errands, I was going to play with Tuner Studio to try to see if I could tune that behaviour out, but the last time I saw my RS232-to-USB adaptater I had the brilliant idea that I should put it away somewhere safe.  So it's gone forever apparently.

One other small task that I undertook was to wash the windows.  Strangely that was less than successful.  There is... something all over the inside of the windshield that I cannot get off without scraping with a razor blade.  Plus the thing is really pitted and nasty after, what, 24 years?  I almost wonder if it would be worth having a new windshield installed.  I've got glass coverage on it so maybe I should start tailgating dump trucks or something.

 

 

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
4/24/21 8:23 a.m.
wae said:

With the first event "postponed" due to the rain that I assume is falling out in BFE wherever this venue is,

It's not quite in BFE, it's what BFE thinks of when IT thinks of BFE.   My Garmin got hopelessly confused on my way there, and ended up sending me down semi-private, gravel/mud farm trails, like Bitzer's driveway but more puddles, corners, and elevation change, as guys rolling those giant round hay bales stopped and looked at me like I was in a UFO or something.  Or maybe they were just planning on lining up their shots, it was southeast Ohio after all.

today's plans changed to helping Tim dispose of a body,

laughlaugh

it makes a rather serious amount of oil pressure,

laugh

and after "repairing" the cluster, the tach jumps around even more than it did before, so I'm not sure I did that right. 

Are you using a plug and play, prebuilt universal, or a homebuilt Megasquirt?

eastsideTim
eastsideTim PowerDork
4/24/21 1:06 p.m.
Pete. (l33t FS) said:
wae said:

today's plans changed to helping Tim dispose of a body,

laughlaugh

And I thank you very much for the help.  A 3760 lb body is a bit too heavy to move on my own smiley

wae
wae UberDork
4/24/21 1:29 p.m.
Pete. (l33t FS) said:

and after "repairing" the cluster, the tach jumps around even more than it did before, so I'm not sure I did that right. 

Are you using a plug and play, prebuilt universal, or a homebuilt Megasquirt?

I feel like you should know me well enough at this point that you shouldn't need to ask that question.  Of course it's a DIY kit that I hacked together myself!

I was just hoping that since I had three gauges that didn't work right that there was a commonality other than "I touched it".

wae
wae UberDork
4/24/21 1:31 p.m.
eastsideTim said:
Pete. (l33t FS) said:
wae said:

today's plans changed to helping Tim dispose of a body,

laughlaugh

And I thank you very much for the help.  A 3760 lb body is a bit too heavy to move on my own smiley

No problem, happy to put my B.U.T.T. to work!

wae
wae UberDork
5/3/21 9:18 p.m.

Way back in the challenge prep days, I lost the little clips for the window cranks.  I bent up some paperclips to fit and they worked okay.  When I removed them to put the door cards on, they didn't quite bend back in to shape.  Dorman makes an assortment of clips and two of the ones in the package were good fits.  So that's taken care of.

The fan switch got disconnected when I was monkeying around with the gauges so I fixed that.

Oddly, the tach seems to be working correctly now.  Didn't have the wherewithal to probe around the speedometer signal.  But maybe I will.

I think the car is all ready to go now, which is good.  Now I need to get the motorhome in shape.  After the trip this weekend I discovered that the generator cranks strong but won't start.  I thought it was because the fuel tank was low, but it's totally topped off now and still nothing.  I suspect maybe the oil level switch, but I'll dig in to it.  They're pretty simple.  I also need to replace the front brakes - the passenger side is all seized up so I've got new rotors, calipers, pads, and hoses on the way.  While I was climbing under the rig looking at the genny, I grabbed the wrong thing and pulled a wire out of the trailer connector so that will need to be put back together as well.

Still haven't found that rs232 to usb adapter though....

wae
wae UberDork
5/4/21 8:10 p.m.

When I was cleaning up and organizing a bit, I put my adapter for Megasquirt in the bin of Neon parts.  No wonder I couldn't find it.  Tonight I got in there and enriched the idle buckets a bit and now it doesn't want to stall every time I come to or attempt to leave a stop.  It's almost like it drives like a real car now!  I also installed a new flasher relay for the turn signals so that my LED bulbs don't give it the ricer flash.  I bought a Tridon EP26 flasher for about $15 from Amazon and now the turn signals blink normally.  The only other mildly productive thing I did was to move the lift around in the garage a bit to line it up better with the garage door.  My wood ramps collapsed on me in the process, so I'll need to do something about that at some point.  I might cut up and stack the 1x6s that I have or I might go see if I have any old 2x6 laying around.

I still need to get cracking on the generator and fixing the trailer connector on the motorhome, but it's been raining the last couple days so berkeley that noise.  Front brake parts will be arriving tomorrow, Thursday, and Friday - thanks for keeping all that stuff in three different warehouses.

wae
wae UberDork
5/12/21 9:15 a.m.

Totally not part of the Neon, but I got the generator running!  I had spark, but the plug was totally dry after cranking for a while so i assumed fuel was the problem.  I jumped the electric fuel pump and once it filled the carb, I tried starting it again and it came right to life.  The fuel hose was leaking pretty badly though and was really cracked and nasty.  I guess the fuel pump doesn't run when cranking for some reason and the fuel in the bowl had evaporated or drained somehow.  I put a new bit of fuel hose on it and replaced the plugs and wires just for good measure.  I should probably do the ignition at some point, but it's running strong right now so it's good to go for the weekend.

The brakes are another matter altogether.  Right side is almost finished and that's the one that was seized up.  One pad came out in multiple pieces and the other was down to the metal backing plate.  It now has a new hose, new rotor, freshly adjusted and greased bearings, new pads, and a new caliper.  I need to bleed it, but I wasn't really sure how to get to the master cylinder to add more fluid and it was 0100 so I just left it for tonight.  I want to be able to get the right side wrapped up and then do the left side tonight.  Then I can get the trailer electrics squared away and be ready to go. 

The other thing I guess I should do is try to call the venue to find out what the protocol is for camping on site.  I'll probably roll in a little on the late side Friday as long as that's allowed.

wae
wae UberDork
5/17/21 8:58 a.m.

What a wild site!  This weekend was a two-day event at a place called Joe's Speedway in Adena, Ohio.  To clarify, it was actually two one-day events held back-to-back as opposed to cumulative days of timed runs.  The site is a short dirt course but it's not an oval or a circle - Joe has carved a road course in to the side of a hill:

Apparently he has side-by-sides race there as well as what he calls "rally cars".  Those are actually more like demo derby cars - gutted small cars with no glass and I think no cage for wheel-to-wheel racing.  It looks pretty tame in that picture but that hill in the back is a 27% grade.  Standing on it was almost like standing on the banking at Daytona. 

I didn't have the presence of mind to take a lot of pictures:

 

All weekend I had only two problems with the car:

A bit of a jump might have developed in the course and when I came down, my added coolant temp gauge stopped working.  The last time that happened, I tore a motor mount and when everything shifted, it ripped the wires out of the sender.  In this case, however, it just worked the wires a bit loose.  All the mounts looked fine and just tightening the nut a bit was the only corrective action required.

The other problem I had was that the battery went totally flat on me.  I don't know if I just left something running or if it's time for a new battery, but after roll-starting it in the morning on Sunday, it was fine the rest of the day.

Otherwise, everything was great.  The RV towed the car there and back without any real complaint, the generator kept the A/C blowing cold, the furnace kept me warm at night, and the car ran great.  I was over-driving one part of the course on Saturday and tagged a couple cones which put me in second place by .8 seconds for that event.  Sunday morning I just could not get my head in the game: I couldn't get myself to stop trying to look back to see if I had hit cones and when I wound up off line I just seemed to make all the wrong decisions such that I dug myself in deeper.  I was in second place by 4.7 seconds at the break.  For the afternoon I was able to get my poop grouped and started driving way better, but it was too little too late.  I don't know if I was able to tighten the gap at all, but I had to settle for a second place finish on Sunday as well.

GDare
GDare New Reader
5/17/21 2:22 p.m.

I was at the event with my dad in the silver bmw 335xi.  He's not lying, that course is a blast!

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
5/17/21 3:15 p.m.

In reply to wae :

Told ya it was a horsepower course smiley

How was the event run?

wae
wae UberDork
5/25/21 9:44 a.m.

The BMW looked pretty wild out there!  Hopefully see you guys back in a week or so!

 

That is definitely a power course.  The jumps that are in there are pretty brutal - Pete Bates actually managed to bend his seat on those at one point.  In my opinion, the course needs to be built to really slow folks down before those to avoid any airtime or broken cars.  The rest of the track really smooth and doesn't degrade too quickly or too bad.  It doesn't really lend itself to a lot of different course options.  Grid's kind of a mess, though, since you can't see the start line from the grid.  I was running grid for my assignment and it was just a matter to keeping a running count of how many cars I had sent down the hill already.  If you keep one car at the line to start with two cars behind, waiting, then you can make sure the 2-driver cars cycle through pretty quickly and you don't find yourself in a position where start is waiting on cars.

What I need to decide for the June event, though, is if I want to get up early and tow up with the Excursion or come in on Friday night with the motorhome again.

eastsideTim
eastsideTim PowerDork
5/25/21 10:42 a.m.

June event is at Ross County, isn't it?

wae
wae UberDork
5/25/21 2:05 p.m.

In reply to eastsideTim :

Oh, well, whaddaya know about that!?  It sure is!  Well, that takes care of that decision.  I seem to remember that conversation now. 

And what is this crap?  Somebody took my number.  Oy.

wae
wae UberDork
6/7/21 9:16 a.m.

EDIT:  Thanks for sending me the results, Evan!  I didn't see it at the time, but the guy who bumped me out of my number did show up after all, so never mind on that.

The 5 morning runs were on a course that was really being used to test the field and it's not the type of course that I'm good at, so I did miserably.  The afternoon was 4 runs on a "real" course and I improved my standings, but it was just a recovery drive.  I wound up 6th out of 13 or something miserable like that.  I really need to learn how to drive.  Upside is that for the most part, I was able to improve the gaps in the afternoon.  I only lost 1.3 secs/lap to ZB compared to the 2.4 secs/lap he was walking me in the morning, so there was that.  And I did improve enough on the afternoon course to move up from 8th at the break to 6th.  But, still, I need to learn how to drive.

But this is a build thread and needs to be about the car, not about the moron who's trying to bumble around a field in it!  The car overheated one time when I forgot to turn the fan on during a run.  Otherwise, it had no problems.  After the event, Tim slapped the street tires on and drove it about 100 miles back to his house while I trailered his Beetle.  Again, I really have to apologize for the heater.  Leaving the heat on full-blast is really only something I do when racing and for street driving, there's no need for that.  I think he lost about 15 pounds in sweat driving it that 100 miles with the heat going on the 85 degree day.  I totally forgot to mention that....

Interesting data point: The speedometer still doesn't work (I'll get around to it), so I don't know exactly how many miles and all that went in to it, but I filled up the tank on the way to the fairgrounds and after 9 runs of about 40-50 seconds each, a fair amount of idling in grid, and the 100 miles trip on the Interstate, I only needed to put 4.8 gallons of fuel in it.  I thought that was pretty good overall, despite having way too many variables in that equation to actually solve for anything.

Speaking of solving things, I think I know what's up with the shifter.  I have a heck of a time getting it to go into gear when it's under load so I was playing around with the shifter.  There's a ton of slop in the shifter itself, so I suspect that when the motor mount broke the last eighteen times, either a booger bushing got boogered or it slipped the adjuster out of adjustment.  I'm going to pull the center console out and see if I can't get to the heart of the matter.  It's always hard to get into reverse and when I launch the car in 1st, the 1-2 shift usually doesn't go.  To compensate, I've been launching in 2nd, but the course this weekend had me bouncing off the limiter in 2nd gear for a pretty far stretch and I suspect I could have shaved some time off if I would have been confident in the 2-3 upshift and the following 3-2 downshift actually working.

Other things that should be done:  I really need to do my tire swap-a-rama to get all the tires mounted and on the right rims.  I also need to take the camber out of the rear wheels.  While it's up in the air with the rear wheel off, I need to adjust the parking brake so that it, uh, works and I want to try to figure out why the stupid fuel gauge doesn't work.  Ever since I put in the new fuel pump, it's been totally malfunctional and that's annoying.  I also want to hook a drill up to the VSS and see if it will move the needle (literally).  If it does, then I guess I need to crack the damn transmission open again, but the ring on the diff is a brand new one that I put on when I installed the LSD and I swear that it feels like it's in place securely.  If it doesn't, I'll try a new VSS.  Huzzah for working gauges.  And speaking of working gauges, I need to ground the oil and water temp gauges better since they read anywhere from 20-40 degrees higher with the engine running than with the engine off.  I think I'll run a ground line from the battery directly to those gauges.  And speaking of running power lines, I was thinking about how the positive cable just sort of bounces about the floorboards and that's probably a bit of a fire hazard.  So I should probably secure that somehow.  And I need to install the carpet and the rest of the interior after I plug up the drain holes in the floor.  And I should probably securely mount the fire extinguisher.  And I need to re-align the front a bit.  And the street tires are getting a bit worn.  And FFS, I need to stop thinking about this because I keep coming up with more crap to do.....

eastsideTim
eastsideTim PowerDork
6/7/21 10:30 a.m.

Driving in a car spewing heat in the summer builds character or something.  Thanks again for the help getting me home.  You were a hit with the graduation party going on next door, apparently.  They thought seeing the Beetle with race numbers on it was cool, even on the trailer.

wae
wae UberDork
7/16/21 2:27 p.m.

Nothing like the last minute to make things happen!  Tomorrow is the event in North East Ohio - assuming it doesn't get thunderstormed out of existence.  My in-laws live in Canton so we're going up there tonight and I'll go up and race tomorrow while the rest of the family has a visit.

The shifting problem is fixed - the bushings came out on the shifter end so I popped them back in and it's all good.  On the right side, the parking brake adjustment was all out of whack so I fixed that as well.  Changed the tires and went to load the car on the trailer when a monsoon hit.  I'm waiting it out now, but just discovered that I left the damn window down.  Oops.

Hopefully the rain will subside in the next few minutes and I can get the car on the trailer and then dry my butt off.

wae
wae UberDork
10/13/21 5:00 p.m.

Woo, I'm off the wait-list for nationals and officially registered!

Crap, I need to fix the car and stuff.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
10/13/21 5:11 p.m.

In reply to wae :

You still have a couple days, relax laugh

Are you camping in the RV?  I have been offered a chance to stay at chez Marsh, which sounds like a good time, but I'd rather stay close to the site if possible.

 

(Phil's going to be there spectating, he lives just up the road, apparently)

wae
wae UberDork
10/13/21 5:46 p.m.

In reply to Pete. (l33t FS) :

Yep, assuming nothing goes horribly sideways, I'll be bringing the RV.  You're welcome to share in the ninties-tastic accomodations!

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
10/13/21 8:35 p.m.

Thanks!  I was spending a final evening at the Batcave loading up my trailer, and I realized that I completely forgot my tent and sleeping gear.  No time to go back to get it.

wae
wae UberDork
10/13/21 10:24 p.m.

I had about 45 minutes to spend in the garage tonight, and I know what I've got to get done tomorrow:

I got the alternator out so I can run it over to O'Reilly in the morning.  The bearing is absolutely shot and it's making a righteous grinding noise.  It should be covered under a lifetime warranty so at least it won't cost me anything.  In theory.  It's a real PITA to get in and out, though.  The coolant overflow bottle gets loosened, the PS fluid reservoir is removed, the coolant bottle is removed, and then the alternator is squeezed between the cowl and the valve cover.  I think the last time I did this, the motor was canted more forward.

I think I have the shifter bushing fixed so that it will actually go in to gear every time.  So that's a bonus.

I also discovered that the little tube that's supposed to indicate the oil level in the catch can is loose so it's acting as a giant boost leak.  That needs to be sealed up somehow.  Or I just need to take the catch can put for now.

The air filter is kind of garbage and very dirty.  Probably should do something about that.

I lost a number panel at the last rallyX.  I've got some vinyl, so I should be able to cut some new numbers to go on the doors.

The other thing I want to do is to move the rain tires to a pair of AR24s I've got and then put the extra rally tires on the bubble wheels.  I'll see if I can drop all that off at the local tire shop first thing and hopefully they can get that squared by Friday morning.

All those things that I said I needed to do.....  Oops.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
10/13/21 10:37 p.m.

Definitely looking like rain on Saturday.

I have two flavors of mud tires and will be driving down on my dry fronts so I don't completely kill my bumper with trailer tongue weight.  Do your rain dance!

wae
wae UberDork
10/14/21 7:31 a.m.

In reply to Pete. (l33t FS) :

Last time there was rain at an event like this at Ross county, I got screwed in to 3rd place when they didn't count the wet laps where I was making up beaucoup time and then canceled the Sunday runs....  So pardon me if I'm not optimistic about that!

EvanB
EvanB GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/14/21 7:48 a.m.

In reply to wae :

But this is nationals, everything will run smoothly. laugh

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