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thashane
thashane GRM+ Memberand New Reader
5/16/21 8:49 p.m.

In reply to BradLTL :

Tires look good! Not staying in ST?

BradLTL
BradLTL UltraDork
5/16/21 9:30 p.m.

In reply to thashane :

If I'm being totally honest, I really just want to beat a couple friends who run CSP Miatas.

thashane
thashane GRM+ Memberand New Reader
5/18/21 9:14 a.m.

In reply to BradLTL :

Awesome, Goodluck! I support this decision.

BradLTL
BradLTL UltraDork
6/19/21 10:10 p.m.

First autox I was able to make this season. I was excited to put the new tires on and drive them in anger but noooooo....

Tropical Storm had different plans. I know I shouldn't complain, there are many people who have been significantly impacted by the storm.

Stood outside in the rain and wind (no lightning or dangerous conditions) and ran the event anyway. Left the street tires on to help with the rain and I didn't really want to change wheels/tires in a downpour.  Still had good time.  Event started dry, but it was full on wet before any cars were off.

 

BradLTL
BradLTL UltraDork
7/24/21 9:30 p.m.

What a difference Hoosiers make.  The car has tons of grip.  I'm still getting used to it.  I didn't trust the tires because I just didnt' know the limits.  Half an autocross isn't enough time to get a good understanding.

I say half, but I wasn't able to run the second half.  I thought I broke an axle, or CV joint, or something else in that area.  At lunch break I drove up to the front of Barbers, and started to notice a weird thumping.  Almost as if the tire had a flat spot.  It kept getting worse.  I stopped and looked at it.  A couple fellow drivers came and assisted.  Nothing obvious, nothing at super slow speed, but at about 10mph and up it comes back.  It got worse when your turned.  I limped up to the front gate for my worker assignment and even the security guy could tell there was a problem.  I stewed on it while I worked the session.  My biggest concern is the 2-day track event coming up next month and getting whatever fixed.

I was finally relieved from my duties, but obviously wasn't going to take my runs.  Pissed I limped back to the paddock area.  It sounded awful.  I figured I would change back to the street tires, and drive it back to the front for the wrecker to come and get it.  I changed the passenger side first.  When I got to the driver's front I was missing a lug bolt and another was halfway backed out.  So, not a broken axle, just an idiot who nearly drove his wheels off... literally.

I'm not sure how it came out.  I put them on with an impact wrench (and since I bought this impact from the Hammer Store), I manually checked each lug bolt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BradLTL
BradLTL UltraDork
7/25/21 12:42 p.m.

Behold the true power of the Mini...

  • 4 wheels and tires
  • Floor jack w/ 2x4 block
  • Tool bag
  • 2 helmets
  • Medium ice chest
  • 2 folding chairs

 

BradLTL
BradLTL UltraDork
8/18/21 10:07 a.m.

Got the Mini some new shoes in preparation for spending 2 days this weekend running around Barber Motorsports Track:

https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/grm/am-i-going-to-ruin-my-a7s-at-hpde/185792/page1/

adam525i
adam525i GRM+ Memberand Dork
8/18/21 3:40 p.m.
BradLTL said:

I'm not sure how it came out.  I put them on with an impact wrench (and since I bought this impact from the Hammer Store), I manually checked each lug bolt.

Just reading back through this, by manually checking each lug bolt mean you used a torque wrench? For me tightening my lug nuts/bolts to 100 ft-lbs has never let me down. With the impact just snug them up to just beyond finger tight, then torque to spec. Buy a torque wrench if you don't have one already, even one from Harbor Freight!

Ignore if I'm reading this wrong and you are already doing the above. Have fun at the upcoming track day.

adam525i
adam525i GRM+ Memberand Dork
8/18/21 3:42 p.m.

Also, as someone that has had to drive back to the tire shop because I had 3 drivers side tires and 1 passenger side I like the sticker idea.

BradLTL
BradLTL UltraDork
8/18/21 9:51 p.m.

Torque wrench is packed. I hadn't brought it last time, but I did manually tighten each bolt.

Here's how it looks...

ojannen
ojannen Reader
8/19/21 8:19 a.m.

I am curious why you are getting so much poke with the hoosiers.  I ran 245 Rivals on the front of my r53 with significantly less poke.  I know Hoosiers are wider than the spec but I didn't think they were that wide.  Here is my car from ~2018:

 

AxeHealey
AxeHealey GRM+ Memberand Dork
8/19/21 8:34 a.m.
BradLTL said:

Behold the true power of the Mini...

  • 4 wheels and tires
  • Floor jack w/ 2x4 block
  • Tool bag
  • 2 helmets
  • Medium ice chest
  • 2 folding chairs

 

This pic reminds me of when I picked my wife up from college in my R57. I used to use that thing as a pickup truck with the top down. Lots of strange looks from people with stuff piled above the body line. 

BradLTL
BradLTL UltraDork
8/19/21 8:48 a.m.
ojannen said:

I am curious why you are getting so much poke with the hoosiers.  I ran 245 Rivals on the front of my r53 with significantly less poke.  I know Hoosiers are wider than the spec but I didn't think they were that wide.  Here is my car from ~2018:

I'm guessing wheel offset.  I am running Konig Dial In 15x8s +25.

Fun fact: I stacked them up last night, and then stacked the OEM wheels right next to them.  With the Hoosiers, I have basically an extra tire worth of rubber on the ground.  I'll grab a picture before I put them away correctly.

pinchvalve (Forum Supporter)
pinchvalve (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/19/21 8:51 a.m.

Well this tread sucks. I have been lurking SVT Focii (my Fist Wheels fit) and Mini's for some time. I was hoping to read about how many things went wrong and how it was a bad choice and how you regret buying one. Damn, my track rat dreams persist.

ojannen
ojannen Reader
8/19/21 10:00 a.m.

In reply to BradLTL :

The front wheels on my car are 15x9 Advanti storms with an effective ET20 offset after spacers.  My rears are 15x8 6uls with no spacers but the narrower 225 tire let me tuck them into the fenders.

BradLTL
BradLTL UltraDork
8/19/21 10:46 a.m.
pinchvalve (Forum Supporter) said:

Well this tread sucks. I have been lurking SVT Focii (my Fist Wheels fit) and Mini's for some time. I was hoping to read about how many things went wrong and how it was a bad choice and how you regret buying one. Damn, my track rat dreams persist.

I failed at finding a SVT Focus... now I have a Mini (and am better off for it, I think).

 

As far as problems... I noticed that a brake light has burnt out.  I'll have to replace that tonight.

BradLTL
BradLTL UltraDork
8/23/21 11:37 a.m.

Man... what a fun weekend.  2 days at Barber's is amazing and challenging.  I'm guessing I did around 100 laps?  Not an exact figure, I didn't run any telemetry and recording on Saturday because I was focusing on working with my instructor and learning the track.  I did 5 sessions on Saturday and 4 on Sunday and I was getting between 10-13 laps each session.  Lots of things to break down here:

The Track:

It's amazing.  If you know anything about Barber's Motorsport Park, you know it is beautiful.  I've spectated races there, I've been to the museum, I've run AutoX events there, but this was my first time seeing it from an on-track perspective, and it is just as beautiful from the driver's seat.  The team at Barber's do an outstanding job of taking care of the track and the people there, I'm very appreciative of them and it really makes for an enjoyable time at the track.

My favorite corner was also one of the ones that I had the most difficulty getting right / fast.  Turn 1.  You are coming at high speed down the front straight to a blind apex where the road falls away from you.  It took an entire day for my brain to believe that that were more track there than it looks like as you approach turn-in; in fact, you might be able to hear my in-car pep talks to myself in the videos.  As fast as you can down the straight, brake before turn-in, set the car and then get back on the gas.  That last step was very hard for my brain to want to do.  The road does fall away from you, but then it comes back and when you hit the bottom of the hill you get the grip you need.  It's a lot more complex than it looks on TV (or in person for that matter).

Turn 5 was interesting as well.  My instructor and I would take different lines in the hairpin.  He (e36 M3 with full suspension) would use a double apex line.  I tried it and couldn't make it fast, so I used a line where I would ignore the first apex, and trail brake the car for the second.  Similar thing in turn 14, he would straighten his line out of 14 and square off 14a to be lined up for 15.  I would keep more of a constant radius, and then use the blip / downshift to help the car rotate around 14a.  I probably need to work on that a bit.

I never felt that I got the turn 11 + 12 complex right all weekend.  I was being instructed on the novice line which is basically a double late apex.  It's safe, but I felt that I had to brake harder than I should of to get the Mini to stay on the right line.  I was ok at it, but I know I'm giving up seconds of time in those 2 corners.

The kink was a lot of fun in the Mini.  On Saturday, we had cool temps and lots of cloud cover.  By the afternoon sessions, I was legitimately not lifting off the gas from museum until T11.  Sunday was much warmer (10-12 degrees) and lots of sun.  I only managed to not lift literally 1 time, every other time I had to just breathe off the gas between 9 and 10 to make sure the nose pointed where I wanted it to go.

I did have a minor off track moment.  It came on what ended up being my last lap.  Coming into the museum complex, I think I had too much angle on the steering wheel when I hit the brake and had an immediate ABS kick.  The speed didn't come off fast enough.  I got the car around, but was wide and cut the grass over 7a.  No damage to car or track, but I got to go explain myself.  By the time the talking to was over, there was only 2 minutes left in the session, I called it a day.

The course is a ton of fun to drive, would recommend.

 

The Mini:

My biggest fear for the weekend was the amount of punishment the Mini would go through and I would break something and not be able to enjoy the whole event.  As you can probably tell from reading everything above... the Mini didn't just survive, it did great.  I'm pretty happy with all the choices I've made building up the car so far.  It didn't miss a beat.  I learned a lot about how the car behaves in high(er) speed driving (vs. AutoX).  The biggest take away was learning how to treat the brakes.  It was in the 3rd or 4th session on Saturday I went to really try and shorten my braking distances and started trying harder stabs at the brakes later in the zone.  I over did it a bit.  The car was stopping, but by the end of the session there was a huge shake in the pedal and wheel.  Turns out that is just how the brakes react when they get overheated.  After a cooling period, they returned to normal feel.  To try and describe it in numbers: 10-9-8-7... resulted in overheating; where 9-10-9-8 did not.  I think some brake ducting would help with the cooling and probably solve this issue.

The Mini handled amazingly well.  Through all the turns it was as fast any non-aero car.  I was carrying good amounts of speed compared to the rest of the run group.  The Mini's downfall on a big track will always be horsepower.  Despite that I was noticeably faster than the '06 Mini (plus mods) and driver, and I was only 1-2 seconds off the lap time the 2018 modded JCW Mini was running.

The other item that is in need... seats.  The factory seats are only slightly better than a bench seat.  It's a lot of work trying to go fast and hold yourself in place.  Speed costs money... how fast can you afford to go.

The tires:

This ended up being a really good decision.  First off, I love the look of the new wheels.  The tires had tons of grip, even though they were only 205s.  In most of the corners I was hitting 1G of lateral load, with a consistent load of 0.9G.  They behaved very well, really predictable on grip and slide.  The only time I had any understeer all weekend was all on the driver coming in to hot to a corner.  Even still, the tires generally provided grip enough to get back on line with minimal correction.  I did notice the tires getting a little greasy on Sunday afternoon, granted it was 92+ degrees and sun on most of the track and it was only after several hot laps.  Front pressures were gaining about 10 PSI by the end of the sessions and wear was right on the recommended triangles on the tire tread.  I was starting at 34, and end of session hot pressure was 43-44.

I drove to and from the track on the tires as well (only about 15 miles).  The road behavior was good.  Quiet.  No following lines in the roads.  Saturday on the ride home a thunderstorm hit as I was going down the interstate.  I was cruising comfortably with traffic.  Granted the tires are only a few days old, but I noticed no hydro-planing or ill behaviors from the tires in that short rain drive.

The videos:

 

 

 

 

BradLTL
BradLTL UltraDork
8/25/21 9:21 a.m.

A few glamour shots from the weekend...

Placemotorsports
Placemotorsports GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
8/25/21 9:33 a.m.

Nice shots!

BradLTL
BradLTL UltraDork
9/28/21 7:54 a.m.

Small TLC update from the weekend. Got the Mini out and cleaned up from the track day finally. Everything looked good.

After an extended wait, the stud conversion kit came:

BradLTL
BradLTL UltraDork
10/30/21 12:49 p.m.

Getting later in the year, Autocross season is quickly coming to an end.  Points event #9 for ALSCCA was on October 16th.  It was only going to be a half event for me.  It's usually a party foul to leave halfway through an event, but I made sure that I picked up an early worker assignment, and then was there to help where ever needed during the first part of the day (ended up helping with timing and scoring).

Got to the site at 5:45 am.  That was early, too early, by about 45 minutes.  It was a cold, dark, drizzly morning.  I didn't wear warm enough clothes.

The day was eventful.  It started as I was prepping the car.  Somehow, I managed to cross-thread a lug nut.  It was damaged beyond repair.  I couldn't run without all the lug nuts, so this was a real problem.  Thankfully Mike (from the Huntsville region) was willing to run me up to O'Reily's to get some spares.  Crisis adverted.

Then the event started.  We had some novices, and they made some bigger mistakes than you usually expect.  One Miata lost control going into a slalom and went off-roading and into a plastic barrier.  That was some excitement for that work station.  Thankfully only minor body damage and hurt pride.

Second run group's turn to go, and then this happens right in front of me:

 

I have no clue how he did that, but he had a bad day.  He ripped the bottom off the engine and dumped all of his oil all over the course.  He stopped on a service road, but rather than backing up on it he decided to drive through a ditch, over another curb and back on the course.  He had to stop, we had to push his car on his trailer, then there was about a 45 minute clean up.

Finally got my runs in.  Because of the drama with the lug nuts earlier, I didn't get to walk the track at all.  I went in blind.  I was reasonably fast, but over did it on my last run.  I understeered into a curb and put a wheel off.  Only a minor scuff on the wheel, but all in all a fairly disappointing day.  Also, I think I need an alignment now.

 

 

 

 

BradLTL
BradLTL UltraDork
10/30/21 2:28 p.m.

Still not 100% sure how I curbed it on that last run.  I turned in slightly later, but was 4 mph slower.  Side by side compare of Run 3 and Run 4:

http://www.youtubemultiplier.com/617d9c52bce07-ax-lap-compare-20211016.php

BradLTL
BradLTL UltraDork
12/29/21 1:44 p.m.

With the autocross season over it’s time to get serious about preparing for One Lap of America 2022. There’s a couple goals with getting prepped: first, reliability. OLOA is demanding with 18 motorsport type events and then 3,500+ miles of travel between the sites. There will be no rest for the car that is creeping up on 19 years old. The second goal is performance handling. To this point the only handling update to the car has been wheels and tires. That’s a testament to how well the car handles from the factory. Even still there are some weak spots. As an older car it has an open diff. This is painful any time you try to put power down out of a slow corner. Then it’s all about maximizing turning ability and transitions.

The process started with window shopping, reading forums, and plenty of reading. Once I had an idea of what I thought I wanted to do, I called an expert. I emailed Way from Way Motor Works. He was at SEMA, but replied that he already had thought about building an One Lap Mini. We caught up when he got back. I went through my plan, and we ended up throwing out some of it, refining some of the others, and then adding in some items I hadn’t considered. Once the call was finished, I felt good we had a plan and could start to budget. It’s going to be expensive, but it should get the Mini in a really good spot for the event.

So here’s the major items on the list:

OS Giken clutch and flywheel
Quaife LSD
Megan racing coilovers
Adjustable rear sway bar
Poly bushings
Swapping to ATi crank pulley
Adjustable rear control arms
Aluminum coolant tank
ECU tune
Oil pressure sensor
Trailer hitch


Another key point of reliability is having someone who knows what they are doing complete the work. Last thing that I would want is for the car to fail because of my shoddy workmanship.

Made to trip over to Atlanta this week for Way and team to start looking at and working on the car. He called today and predictably fired me as a mechanic on the car. Apparently my work on the water pump was less than stellar. The hoses were hanging on by a thread and I had the clamps in the wrong places. He also discovered several seals that needed replacement. And then the M7 pulley. Based on how the belt was hitting on the other pulleys, he’s guessing it was machined incorrect. Other than those items, he gave the car a good review. He was happy it was a good base to build from and all the trouble areas we would address.

Work has already started on the Mini. Depending on when some of the parts arrive, I should have the car back in a couple weeks.

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
12/29/21 3:48 p.m.

Cool.  I'm interesting in hearing about your experience with an aftermarket clutch and flywheel.  So far all of the long-time MINI wrenches I know have been reluctant to recommend anything other than stock.  Granted, my car is an essentially stock JCW with the only engine upgrade being the ATI damper.

BradLTL
BradLTL UltraDork
12/29/21 9:46 p.m.

I gathered that Way was of the same opinion, with the limited exception of the OS Giken. It's a good bit more money than the ACT or other brands. 

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