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badwaytolive Reader
2/8/19 8:49 a.m.

In reply to maschinenbau :

Nice report!

Would love to see some video if it ever works out!


maschinenbau GRM+ Memberand Dork
2/11/19 7:50 p.m.

In preparation for this weekend, I practiced the entire process of towing my racecar to an event. I recently bought a tow dolly to pull behind my El Camino, just like how I moved last year. The big things to remember are:

  • Unbolt the driveshaft since it's rear-drive automatic
  • Swap out the rear tires for a street set
  • Strap the steering wheel straight since the dolly is a swivel bed

To save time/effort/mess with the driveshaft job, I cut a slot in the tunnel for fishing a ratchet strap down to support the rear u-joint of the driveshaft. This lets me keep the slip-yoke installed in the back of the trans so I don't have to worry about leaking fluid or hauling the driveshaft. The strap keeps the shaft tucked up into the tunnel with about an inch of clearance to the diff.

Another pair of straps keep the wheel straight.

I'm glad I practiced in the comfort of my own driveway on a relaxed Saturday afternoon, because I accidentally bashed the radiator support bar into the deck of the dolly. Some blocks under the ramps got me the needed clearance, but only after snapping a plastic peg off the bottom end tank. Oops. Some JB Weld took care of that.

I also tried to fix the steering u-joint angle by adjusting the column position. 

By drilling new holes in the firewall flange of the column, I significantly straightened out the steering shaft. It feels a lot better, but only a drive will tell for sure.

All of these are part of something called "sorting", that thing you're supposed to do with a racecar before you race it. It's a wonder I made it through the 2018 Challenge. It will be through practice, work, and "sorting" that I (hopefully) do much better at the 2019 Challenge.

Pete Gossett
Pete Gossett GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/12/19 4:41 a.m.

In reply to maschinenbau :

The reality of the Challenge deadline means few cars get proper(any) sorting beforehand. The fact you got this built & made it all the way through the event is still a huge accomplishment though!

jfryjfry HalfDork
2/12/19 7:51 p.m.

Those wheels......  so much awesome....

maschinenbau GRM+ Memberand Dork
2/18/19 7:27 p.m.

First autocross of the season is in the books! This was also the first weekend I used my new tow dolly. I'm not crazy about it, but it beats driving this death trap to events, I think.

Saturday was a test and tune, which meant 10 runs for each of the 50 of us. The weather started out with rain the morning and standing water, followed by sun and dry tarmac in the afternoon. I went with the 3-year-old used Rivals I scored off someone's Exocet. My first 3 runs were in the wet, which I found very difficult. The throttle pedal is basically a donut button. But I was mostly just happy the car was running well and doing its thing without much mechanical drama. I wasn't impressed by the Rivals wet performance. During my worker shift, the sun came out and dried everything up, so my next 7 runs all got progressively faster. So much more grip. The one thing I focused on all day was throttle control, and that was enough for several seconds of improvement all day. This car has more power than I could possibly use on an autocross course. It is awesome. 

That little red Alfa was quick!

Once it was dry and I had grip, I noticed a loud CLUNK on certain turns that had a bump during full lean. Not a comfortable sound at all. It turned out to be the upper control arm traveling too high and impacting the structural pocket thing that ties the shock tower to the chassis. Aluminum vs 1/8" steel. Not sure what to do about it yet, but nothing broke.

Sunday was points event #1, which was 4 runs. About 150 cars showed up Sunday. It was nuts, I've never been to an auto-cross that big. All of my runs that day were in the wet, so I stuck with the 300TW Rikens that I towed on. I gambled that they would grip better on water and I think I chose well. 1 slow run, 1 fast run, 1 really fast run plus a cone, and 1 big wet spin-out. There was one other car in my class, E-Modfied, but I was just there to get better and listen to the car. All weekend long I found it best to start with the "tiptronic" mode in 2nd, which will do a 1-2 shift and keep it there in 2nd. I was surprised it would not shift up to 3rd under any circumstances. It would actually over-rev past the 6600 redline into 7000 as it cut fuel. So that was pretty cool. 

The JB Weld didn't hold, but the zip-ties did. Might need to swap out for another junkyard radiator.

I'll spare you the few pages of notes, but here's a nice punch list for the coming weeks:

  • Windshield wipers or Rain-X. I couldn't see anything in the rain.
  • Fix the radiator mount, again.
  • Clearance for the front UCAs or limit travel somehow.
  • Rear shocks need solid bushings. 
  • Better way to vent the fuel tank other than the slot I cut in the gas cap gasket. Sometimes it sloshed up...
  • Move the BCM/fuses/wiring junk away from the driver footwell. It got kicked a lot.
  • Pedal position is a little high and uneven.
  • Seat is way too high. Helmet hits the roof. It's time to install the racing seat.
  • Water bottle cage mount, like for a bicycle, would be nice.
  • The steering is much better thanks to straightening out the u-joints, but the wheel is too wide and thin. Some leather wrap or bicycle handlebar tape would help a lot.

Next autocross is in two weeks. Looking forward to more seat time in this wild crazy ride!

klodkrawler05 Reader
2/19/19 7:18 a.m.

Would some progressive bumpstops work to solve UCA contact? Obviously fabbing something isn't a deterrent but it'd be quick and simple to slide a pair of these onto the front dampers and move onto other items on the list. They offer anything from 36-76mm length depending how much travel you need to lose. 



¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UberDork
2/19/19 7:27 a.m.

In reply to klodkrawler05 :

And for challenge budget purposes, you can find big foam bumpstops like that on the back of most big FWD cars in the junkyard.  It seems like the big 3 especially like to do soft springs for ride comfort and yuge bumpstops for when your back seat is full of your chunkiest friends.

gumby GRM+ Memberand Reader
2/19/19 8:09 a.m.

Glad to read the autoX reports, sad that you moved away. I need more local Emod friends!

maschinenbau GRM+ Memberand Dork
2/19/19 1:13 p.m.

Bumpstops are a great idea. I'll definitely be adding those and possibly cutting/fabbing in some more clearance. Also just realized I was cutting my front springs from the wrong end. They're progressive and I was cutting the stiff end, so I might get a stiffer rate (and hopefully less travel) if I go back to my stock springs and cut from the soft end instead. Then I can take the aftermarket springs out of the budget. In the meantime here's some photos from the day:


maschinenbau GRM+ Memberand Dork
2/24/19 8:09 p.m.

Here's what the lower radiator post looked like.

Here's what it's supposed to look like.

Here's a broken chunk missing from the replacement radiator I pulled from the yard yesterday.

So I went back to the yard, found another G35, and exchanged it for yet another stupid radiator. Actually my old one was from an M35 that was getting parted out on craigslist. The G35 one is about 2 inches shorter, which means it sits 2 inches higher in the car, so I shouldn't smash it on the trailer again!

But having to return to the junkyard was a blessing in disguise. I got notified that a 1981 210 arrived, so I nabbed its driver headlight bezel. Mine was cracked and held together with JB weld and packing tape.

But back to the radiator. It needs a modified bracket due to the different size. The tow dolly is a convenient place to work on the front end.

I also found over 2 lbs of weight loss between the radiator bracket and some frame trimming.

And jumping around I started to mount the aluminum racing seat.

Never really done this before.

Still figuring out the right place for it. Gonna be some brackets in my future.

TurnerX19 Reader
2/24/19 9:36 p.m.

You are very fortunate the radiator spud failure did not result in immediate coolant loss! I have worked on many English formula cars over the years. They must have a multi year college course called "Bracket 101, 102", etc. Almost everyone on this forum could teach it! Your seat brackets will be doctoral thesis components by their standards.

wheelsmithy GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
2/25/19 2:29 p.m.

Looks like you are cornering pretty flat-Nice!

I can't express satisfactorily how cool I think all this is. CAM Datsun!

Nice score on the new radiator. Refinement is the name of the game.

What did you run in the drags? Seems like you'd be getting very close to cage time. 5 point for <13.5, right?

Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
2/25/19 2:36 p.m.

I wish they would let stuff like this in CAM.....

Patrick GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/25/19 2:45 p.m.

In reply to wheelsmithy :

11.49 for cars with roof.

sleepyhead GRM+ Memberand Mod Squad
2/25/19 2:52 p.m.

I think that new shorter radiator is going to work out real well to tie-in the front end looks.  nice upgrade

maschinenbau GRM+ Memberand Dork
2/25/19 3:46 p.m.

No drag times yet, but I'm excited for Friday Night Drags to start up soon. I'm planning to build a roll bar later this spring even if I never seen 11's. I'll need a harness bar after this seat is mounted and unlike my build would suggest I do somewhat value my life.

wheelsmithy GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
2/27/19 1:50 p.m.
Patrick said:

In reply to wheelsmithy :

11.49 for cars with roof.

Even a removable one?

(Apologies for thread jack)

OjaiM5 New Reader
2/27/19 5:01 p.m.

It was awesome seeing this on the live video and in the magazine. Can't wait to see how it evolves. 

maschinenbau GRM+ Memberand Dork
2/28/19 6:20 p.m.

Seal brackets were tricky because the floor is uneven and the rear mounting points of the stock sliders are at different heights. To get the seat low enough, I had to cut part of the floor out with one of the seat mounting holes and reposition it. Then I built this little bracket and welded it in place.

I also modified the original seat slider brackets to bolt in to this modified floor, so if I ever want to use the original seat, I still can.

These brackets were first cut using CAD method, then tacked in place with the seat cleverly suspended in the perfect place using wood blocks and ratchet straps, fully welded on the bench, then ground down to fit extra better.

And topped off with a poorly-fitting cover. The seat, from best I can tell, is an older Butlerbuilt economy model that isn't made anymore. The cover is Kirkey. It's surprisingly comfortable, but I did have to de-mold it first. $40 at the drag racing flea market took them home as a set. 16 lbs for the seat, 1.8 lbs for the pair of brackets. Stock seats and sliders weigh 36 lbs. And now I can sit in a reasonable position without my helmet hitting the roof! The 3-point belt still works too, but that will be replaced by a harness once the roll bar is built. I'm happy for now.

maschinenbau GRM+ Memberand Dork
3/2/19 6:27 p.m.

Big little upgrade! I machined these solid aluminum shock bushings after work. I bought a 12" stick of 1.5" OD aluminum for $16 on Amazon and used 4 inches of it. So this is a $4 set of solid bushings if my Challenge budget math is correct.

So here's the problem. The G35 shock bushings are designed to work with G35 shocks. G35 shocks have yoke on the bottom, centered over the bushing with a thru bolt. I don't have G35 shocks, I have used dirt track racing shocks offset from where they should be. So this whole time I've been driving with a cantilevered 1/2" bolt going through the rubber bushing, bending the bushing every bump and rebound, resulting in the most nonlinear damping curve imaginable, probably. You can torque that bushing just by pulling on the bolt by hand. So my fancy redneck racing shocks probably aren't doing much.

This was 4 hours. I fought valiantly and triumphed, wielding the power of parts-store bushing press, electric die grinder, and beer. The other side took way less time, especially after sleeping on it.

I also filled the gap in the chassis with some shock bellows, fashioned from the Datsun's A/C ducting. Hoarding pays off, see?

Nice and tidy. Now my shocks actually do something!

Then I turned my attention to the front. Those fenders need help.

Quick update on the sheetmetal supply.

You know what, the fenders just need to go.

And that's as far as I got. But there's an autocross tomorrow. So I'm just gonna duct-tape the sharp edges and send it.

wheelsmithy GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
3/2/19 7:32 p.m.
maschinenbau said:

You know what, the fenders just need to go.

Now we're talking. Work looks fantastic!


maschinenbau GRM+ Memberand Dork
3/4/19 8:13 a.m.

Autocross Points #2 was yesterday, and I did much, much better this time relative to the field. I finished 30th out of 90+, with a 3 second spread between 5th and 30th. All cars ahead were fairly-modified STX, STU, SM, and SP classes of cars. For perspective, the car ahead of me was a crazy turbo-flutterin' STU Subaru STi and behind me was a gorgeous SP 2011 911 Carrera S. I'm pretty satisfied. Biggest takeaways:

  • Seat and position are game changers. I can actually focus on driving now instead of leaning way back and hitting my helmet on the ceiling. 
  • Solid shock bushings are doing something incredible. My driver/autocross vocabulary is lacking, but the car just feels so much more predictable and quicker to transition between turns, especially in a slalom. The rear dampers must actually be working now and keeping it from rolling as much, because the control arms didn't clunk on the frame like last time. Night and day difference that you can feel just by leaning down on hatchback. It stiffff.
  • Stock drivetrain still reliable as gravity and still throwing the same 7 minor engine codes. 
badwaytolive Reader
3/4/19 8:55 a.m.

Solid update(s)- nice driving on the auto-x!

maschinenbau GRM+ Memberand Dork
3/5/19 1:15 p.m.

More photos (pardon the fender progress). Atlanta Region SCCA has a really great photography. Once the body and paint and done I'll have to buy some prints from him.

vazbmw HalfDork
3/6/19 4:26 p.m.

I saw you run at ATL SCCA points 2 event. Awesome ride!!!!

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