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irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/5/20 4:00 p.m.

In reply to 95maxrider :

Lol and things would have probably been way different for both of us if Stephen hadn't missed a couple events (and still finished 3rd overall)!

95maxrider
95maxrider Reader
7/6/20 11:04 a.m.
irish44j (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to 95maxrider :

Lol and things would have probably been way different for both of us if Stephen hadn't missed a couple events (and still finished 3rd overall)!

Yup, absolutely.  Same in 2018!  Hopefully the same this year wink

95maxrider
95maxrider Reader
7/6/20 11:15 a.m.

Someone in my other build thread reminded me a I never did a post-mortem on my brake/clutch fluid issue that sidelined me last year, so here's how that went.  I had to replace the clutch master cylinder because the circular plastic piece at the end where it attaches to the pedal had split in half, likely due to the increased pressure I had to apply because the fluid was low. 





And since they're relatively cheap, and I was already going to be bleeding the system, I decided to replace the slave as well, even though it showed no signs of leaking and was pretty new.  I never did find a fluid leak, all I can assume is that worn brake pads caused the level to drop in the reservoir.  But I only had put like 3,000 miles on the car since I last changed the brake fluid, so that seems a little premature/severe to me.  To this day I'm still not positive what happened, but the level in the reservoir has not changed since I replaced the parts.  All I can do is do a better job of monitoring the fluid level and hope it doesn't happen again.

Moving on to off-season maintenance, I figured a smart thing to do would be to flush out the brake fluid and make sure it was topped off :)  My bleeder screws were pretty grungy looking, and a few had started to round off a bit, so I bought new bleeders. 



Since I have 328 front calipers, and part numbers on different sites were conflicting, I bought two different sized sets of screws to make sure I had the right ones.  But, since I did this many months ago, I no longer remember which set was the correct one.  I think it was the 7mm set?



My valve cover gasket was weeping, even though it only had a few thousand miles on it, and since I had bought the parts from FCP Euro, I decided to replace them since the parts were covered under their awesome lifetime warranty.  The last time I did the job I think I used all aftermarket parts, and the rubber grommets appeared to have failed:







This time I paid the price difference for OEM parts in the hope that they last longer.  Time will tell.

I must say that I absolutely despise doing VC jobs in this car since the rear crescent areas are so close to the firewall that it makes scraping off the old RTV a real pain.  I had to cut a razor blade in half so it would fit in the tight areas.



The VC was all sorts of dirty since the oil held onto all the dust I kick up when I race, so I sprayed it with some Purple Power and power washed it a few times before reinstalling it.



I made the mistake of following the directions in the Bentley and Pelican manuals and put the new gasket on the head, and then put the VC on top of it.  This of course did not go well, and a part of the gasket must have gotten folded over when I put the VC down on top of it, as I had a pretty sizable oil leak from the gasket after I started driving the car again.  Cue doing the whole job again, only this time I put the gasket into the VC before putting the VC down on the head. 



I of course had the pleasure of scraping off all the RTV again, and it wasn't any easier the second time around.  But at least it sealed up properly this time.

Then I got to do something that was long overdue, and vitally important on any rallycross car, which is to install a subwoofer.  I had my eye on an 8" 125w RMS JBL under seat sub for a while, and when I saw the price drop to $150 due to a "new" (but totally the same) model being released, I snatched one up.  I knew it wasn't going to fit under my Recaros, but that's okay.  My plan was to just put it behind my seat, and then take it out when I race. 



I went with JL Audio RCA cables, and I also picked up a new aux cable from Blue Jeans Cable to replace the wimpy and interference-prone junk I've had in the car.



I had to tie into the signal wire that was running into the trunk that feeds my 4 channel amp, but when I got to it (under my seat and carpet) I found the crimp connector was barely crimped, so I decided it would be best to solder it all together, since I didn't want to lose all audio on a long drive.



I have a stash of nice 6 AWG copper welding cable (which is complete overkill for this amp) so I made my cables.  I adore these glue-lined heat shrinks and solid copper terminals.



I found an existing ground terminal under the seat, so I cleaned it up and used it for my ground.





Got another fuse holder to match the one for the 4-channel amp:



But when I got to the amp, I realized the spots for the terminals were too narrow for my terminals required by the 6 AWG wire, so I ground my terminals down so they would fit.



I did my best to run the power and ground wires away from any signal wires to prevent interference, and this is how it ended up.  Power on the PS, signal wires on the DS.  I also put the power cable in that annoying protective plastic sheathing to make sure it doesn't chafe through:







It took a little while to get the sub dialed in, but now it sounds pretty good.  I'm used to a 12" JL W6 with 500w RMS in my other car, but since this is sitting right behind me and not in the trunk, it's actually good enough.  It sure doesn't go low like a 12", but it's a 100% improvement from not having a sub at all.  I can also remove the whole thing in a few minutes if I want to, as I left enough slack in the wires so I can move it around and get to stuff.  Considering this car splits DD duties with my other car, this was well worth the money and effort.
 

95maxrider
95maxrider Reader
7/6/20 11:59 a.m.

So while cleaning up from the leaking VC, it looked like either my output shaft seal (OSS) and/or the shift shaft seal (SSS) on the transmission were leaking, so I figured I might as well replace them, how hard could it be?  Ahh, well it turns out, they were rather difficult, at least for me.

Any time I remove the heat shields from the car I'm greeted by pounds of dirt falling onto my face that had been sitting on top of them.  Weight reduction!



Got the driveshaft out...



To make access easier, I supported the trans and then removed the trans brace:



The SSS came out without too much fuss:



But the OSS was another story.  I had a Lisle seal puller, but the non-adjustable kind.  Looking closely at the pics in the Pelican guide, I noticed they had an adjustable seal puller.  They were also demonstrating the job on an earlier 325, which has a different trans, which conveniently has a spot they could use for leverage to pry the seal out.  I had no such luck on my trans, and no matter how I tried, all I could do was gouge the surface.  My heart sank and my stomach was queasy.  What have I done?!?  And more importantly, how do I complete the job?



So I ordered two other Lisle seal pullers in the hope they would solve my problems.



Well, they didn't.  The smaller one wasn't at all right for this job, and the adjustable one helped, but not nearly as much as I had hoped.  I just kept gouging the surface further, there was just nothing good to pry from.  It just kept tearing up the seal without making it move.  I was getting desperate, which made me use more force and try different places to pry from, which led to more mistakes.  Eventually, I got the damn thing out.



But the damage to the area had been severe.  Granted these areas were all outside the sealing area, so not terribly important:



But when I had pried the seal from further inside in my attempt to actually get it out, I had caught the inner lip of the trans where it actually seals against, causing a deep and sharp gouge.  Excuse the blurry pics, it's tough getting a camera up in that area.  You can see the damage around 7 o'clock:



Great, now I was worrying about how I would get the new seal to actually make a good seal.  I considered using RTV around it, but then decided that if it leaked after that, I would need to then remove the RTV from all around the hole, and I knew that would be next to impossible, so I decided to put it in normally.  But not before I cleaned up all the damage by hand with my file set:



It took a long time, but everything cleaned up pretty well and I couldn't feel any more rough edges, so it was time to lube the seal and press it in.  Except it just didn't want to go in straight.  I eventually got it in, but there was a tiny bit of the rubber that had folded over in the process at around 11 o'clock:





But by this point I was fed up with the whole project, and in no mood to order a new seal and try it again, so I hoped and prayed that this wouldn't leak and just put the car back together.  I noticed earlier that my exhaust hangers were pretty floppy after only being on the car for like two years, so I bought some new ones.  Thankfully, they were much stiffer.





After a few weeks of driving there were no signs of leaks, so I guess the gods must have smiled upon me.  It's good to not have any leaks again!

Oh, and I bought some pics from our local photographer Steven Phillips from last season that I never posted up, so here goes!  I don't get very sideways all that often, so they're pretty boring.  But they're pretty!







lxnm
lxnm New Reader
7/6/20 2:03 p.m.

Man, this sounds like a super fun time.  

95maxrider
95maxrider Reader
7/6/20 2:21 p.m.
lxnm said:

Man, this sounds like a super fun time.  

It very much is laugh

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/6/20 4:09 p.m.

Not documented: Lots of Nick's phone calls to me. Because Nick wants things to be perfect so likes to double-check his methods. As opposed to me, who is more like "well, hopefully this will work ok...." laugh

neverendingprojectgarage
neverendingprojectgarage New Reader
7/13/20 6:38 p.m.

Your local photographer is great, does he have a Facebook page or Instagram where he shares his event photos/portfolio?

95maxrider
95maxrider Reader
7/13/20 7:39 p.m.
neverendingprojectgarage said:

Your local photographer is great, does he have a Facebook page or Instagram where he shares his event photos/portfolio?

Yeah, Steven is pretty damn awesome.  Here are some of his sites:

https://stevenphillipsphotos.com/motorsports/

https://www.instagram.com/p/6TfnQrnt0j/?hl=en

https://www.dcrallyphotos.com/WDCR-SCCA-Rallycross-Events

https://www.flickr.com/photos/sphillips5615/9704562997/in/photostream/

Enjoy!

neverendingprojectgarage
neverendingprojectgarage New Reader
7/13/20 7:42 p.m.

In reply to 95maxrider :

Awesome, thank you!

cafcwest
cafcwest HalfDork
8/6/20 10:56 a.m.

Just finished up all 15 pages - holy crap you had some dramas!  Having just done my first RX this past weekend at VIR, the hook has been set and I'm researching options for a RWD car to build up as a dedicated RX car.  I had been thinking E36 before I started the thread....but geez, now I'm thinking another Miata!

 

Thanks for making the effort to docyment your build and events with such detail - super useful reading.

95maxrider
95maxrider Reader
8/6/20 1:35 p.m.
cafcwest said:

Just finished up all 15 pages - holy crap you had some dramas!  Having just done my first RX this past weekend at VIR, the hook has been set and I'm researching options for a RWD car to build up as a dedicated RX car.  I had been thinking E36 before I started the thread....but geez, now I'm thinking another Miata!

 

Thanks for making the effort to docyment your build and events with such detail - super useful reading.

Yeah, this car was a real PITA for a while, but it's been a peach after I got it sorted out.  The E36 is a great platform for this with the right mods, but if you don't do some good weight reduction you're likely going to be a good bit heavier than your competition which can be difficult to overcome even with a power advantage.  I strongly considered an NB Miata before going with the E36, but I chose the E36 since it could fit 4-6 wheels in the car along with all my gear.  I don't have a truck/trailer, and I wasn't thrilled about towing a little trailer behind the Miata to bring my tires and gear to events.  Would an NB be faster than my car if I had put the same amount of effort and mods into it?  Almost assuredly.  It's really hard to beat a Miata for this type of stuff.  There are a lot of variables to take into consideration: which class you want to run in, if you have a trailer, what types of venues you run in, etc, but it's hard to go wrong with a Miata.  Sure, I love my car (Stockholm syndrome?) but I recognize its limitations, especially since I kept it as a DD and didn't remove any weight.  E30s do great as well, but it's getting harder to find one in decent condition these days.

ojannen
ojannen Reader
8/6/20 2:01 p.m.

In reply to cafcwest :

For a cheap turnkey car, a 325i/325is with the cold weather package is the way to go.  E36 M3 prices have gone crazy now that speculators have found them.  You won't miss the extra horsepower from the big engine and the early cars were a bit lighter too.  You still lose to miatas, lighter E30s and mid engined stuff but you can make up for it with a livable car outside of rallycross.

95maxrider
95maxrider Reader
8/6/20 4:19 p.m.
ojannen said:

In reply to cafcwest :

For a cheap turnkey car, a 325i/325is with the cold weather package is the way to go.  E36 M3 prices have gone crazy now that speculators have found them.  You won't miss the extra horsepower from the big engine and the early cars were a bit lighter too.  You still lose to miatas, lighter E30s and mid engined stuff but you can make up for it with a livable car outside of rallycross.

I agree, there's no reason to get an M3 for this, a 325/328 would be just as good and would need less work to get going.

95maxrider
95maxrider Reader
8/18/20 3:56 p.m.

And just like that I'm behind in my updates, not that there's anything interesting really.  Way back in the spring I drained my coolant as it had been about two years since I had put new stuff in.  Granted, I only put like 5k on the car in that time, but I figured coolant is cheap, so I might as well do it.  What came out kind of shocked me, given the low miles:



I run the blue OEM BMW coolant, but this was decidedly not blue.  Feeling guilty, I decided to refill the system with another round of Evaporust Thermocure, which proved itself quite capable when I installed this motor in the car a few years back.  I put on 100+ miles, but given that I'm mostly working from home, and my commute is three miles, it took some time.  Like, 3 months or something.  I probably put on more miles than needed.

This was the result:



You're supposed to do two drain and fills with just water, with some driving in between, so that's what I did.  Except after two fills with just water, it was still draining out looking like this:



Uhhh, I don't think it's supposed to do that.  Evaporust is a gooey clearish yellow substance, so it looked like I hadn't gotten it all out of the system yet.  So I did another two rounds of water.  The color didn't change.  WTF?  All the while, I had been draining the system from the drain plug on the block first, and then from the radiator, while the car was up on ramps in the front to aid burping.  Except every time I went to drain the radiator, nothing came out.  Hmm, maybe it was all just draining out of the block?  So after like the fourth or fifth drain of just water still coming out all golden, I decided to drain the radiator first.  Annnnnnd nothing.  Wait, what?  How is that possible?  I knew the damn radiator was full, why wasn't water coming out?  So I jammed a drill bit up there, and felt it stop almost immediately.  So I pressed harder, and felt it start going through something hard but gooey.  And finally, water started to trickle out.  So I grabbed a bigger bit, and really got up in there.  This is what got stuck to the bit:



Huh.  Maybe I shouldn't have left the cleaner in the system for that long?  I guess that would also explain why after five rounds of draining, the water was still coming out all nasty, since I wasn't able to actually drain what was in the radiator.  At this point, it was like two days before our first events, and I wanted to get real coolant back in the car.  So I did two more rounds of just water, and it eventually came out "kinda clean" which was such an improvement that I said eff it, time to put in some 50/50 and call it a day.



I also replaced both of the plastic radiator burp/drain plugs.  Interestingly, the drain plug (which was aftermarket) had this weird hook thing on the end of it.  Huh, I wonder if it's there to prevent the drain plug hole from getting all clogged up like mine had done?  The new OEM block drain plug I ordered was taller than the one in the car, and couldn't be installed without removing an O2 sensor from one of the manifolds, so I cleaned up the old one, slapped on a new crush washer, and installed everything.



And with that, I had "cleaned" my cooling system, and was ready to race.....
 

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/18/20 5:51 p.m.

Isn't the hook there just to make sure the plug doesn't fall all the way out when you loosen it, just hang there?

bluej (Forum Supporter)
bluej (Forum Supporter) UberDork
8/18/20 7:38 p.m.
irish44j (Forum Supporter) said:

Isn't the hook there just to make sure the plug doesn't fall all the way out when you loosen it, just hang there?

Yes

95maxrider
95maxrider Reader
8/18/20 8:11 p.m.
irish44j (Forum Supporter) said:

Isn't the hook there just to make sure the plug doesn't fall all the way out when you loosen it, just hang there?

I suppose that would make a little more sense....

95maxrider
95maxrider Reader
8/20/20 1:38 p.m.

Before I get even further behind, I figured I would do a quick write up of the first two events of the season.  They were back in mid-July at Summit Point.  They were supposed to be at Panthera Training Center, but due to rain we moved them to SP.  Sucks for me, because I generally do much better at PTC due to it being much more wide open and faster.  Saturday was on the Tree course, and Sunday was on the Barn course.  I did well at the Tree course last year, but I've never done particularly well on the Barn course.  It was over 90* both days, so typical DC summer weather.

In terms of my competitors, here's a rundown for how things are looking for 2020:

Josh H- E30 with M50, gutted, caged
Josh S- E30 with M52, soon to be Duratec 2.5, gutted
Stephen and Chris- 325i E30 with low compression on two cylinder due to loss of oil on course last year
Eric and Neil- They have a fresh E30 shell that is no longer splitting itself in half, and rebuilt a bunch of stuff in the process of swapping everything over from the old car.  325i motor and gutted.  They were already fast before, and they should be even faster now. 
Chris- Chris has a long and storied history with us, but hasn't raced with our region much in the last 5 years due to stage rally adventures in his Merkur.  Previous cars include a V6 swapped MR2 and a gravel-spewing Foxbody.  His new car is a BRZ, and when he's not hitting cones he's very fast.

Anybody on that list is capable of winning on any day, it's a very tight class.  I still have by far the most power of the group, but the car also weighs something like 400-700 pounds more than the competition.

Starting off Saturday I was on my new Maxsport grass tires and not my gravel Maxxis tires.  It's the tire most people run, and with its softer compound and narrower size it should be better in loose conditions.  However, it's a re-tread and not a true rally tire, and the sidewall is also softer than I'm used to.

Neil started off super fast in the morning, with Eric, Stephen and Josh close behind.  I started off by hitting a cone in each of my first two runs, but I wasn't sure where I hit them.  I must have knocked them over with the rear wheels.  Then on my fourth run the rear end stepped out on me going around a fast turn and the car started to fish tail.  I hit three cones in the process.  So by lunch I had hit more cones than I had hit in the last two years combined.  I was off to a great start!  In the afternoon, I was clean and much more competitive, but never put down any super fast runs to catch up to the other guys.  Neil and Eric fell off the pace a bit, while Stephen and Josh ran very fast.  Stephen finished in first, with Josh right behind him, then Eric, and then myself.  I was pretty disappointed in myself, but the car itself felt great as usual.  I guess the course was on the tight side, so it didn't really lend itself to my heavy and powerful car.

Sunday we moved to the Barn course, where I generally don't do well, and Stephen and Chris tend to shine.  Due to a downpour in the beginning of the afternoon runs, we only had our morning runs count for the day.  Word on the street was it was hard packed, so I put my two Maxxis tires on the back of the car so I didn't destroy the softer Maxsports.  I can only carry 6 wheels/tires in the car to events, otherwise I probably would have put all four Maxxis tires on.  But even if I did, I don't think it would have mattered, as I got left in the dust by everyone.  I was simply not competitive, even driving clean and not hitting cones.  The barn course even has a few straight sections where I can put some power down, but it didn't matter.  The last time I was this slow was back when we raced at the farm 3 years ago and I was getting coil bind from the rear springs at every bump.  I wish I could point to something and say "oh, that's why I was so slow" but I can't, and it sucks.  I finished the day in seventh, a long ways back from Stephen in first, Neil in second, and Josh in third.

Posting videos would be pointless since they're slow and boring. 

Events 3 and 4 are this weekend, back at Summit Point.  I don't anticipate that I'll do very well, but at least I'll get out of the house and have some fun.

Oh, I finally got new tires mounted up on my summer wheels since the old ones were dry rotted and not safe to use.  I've really only used these wheels on the car for like 3 months a few years ago, so it's great to get the winter tires (!) off the car and get summers back on.  I went with a 245/40/17 Michelin Pilot Sport 4S for the 17x8.5" Apex Arc 8 wheels.  Surprisingly, the combo only weighs 40 pounds, which is about 5 more than the super narrow winter tires on 13lb  15" wheels.  I haven't put many miles on them yet, but I'm excited to drive them to the event.



irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/22/20 8:37 p.m.

I still think you should just get a tire trailer. That way you can haul a full set of tires and gear and not have to do packing jenga in your car. Not like you don't have room in the garage for one. 

 

95maxrider
95maxrider Reader
8/25/20 8:19 p.m.

Alright, let's get caught up on this past weekend before I forget all the details.  We were back at Summit Point for events #3 and #4.  On Saturday we were on the Barn course.  It's big and flat, with a few nice straight sections, and it's usually pretty hard packed.  The course runs about 80-90 seconds.  Once again, MR was chocked full of fast cars and talent, with the exception of Josh S. who missed the event, so (I assume) he could continue to work on getting the Duratec 2.5 into his E30.  Chris N. was back with his BRZ, except this time he had his custom long-travel rally suspension installed, and his ABS problems worked out.  Also of note, now that the car actually makes it through events without breaking, is Mike G. in his W10 MR2 with an engine swap (I forget exactly which Toyota engine it is....3S-GTE?).  Mike is also a fast driver, but like Chris N., has a penchant for hitting cones at the worst possible time.  That means we have 8 drivers in 6 cars who are each capable of putting down the fastest time in a run and/or winning an event.  This intense competition is born out in the incredibly tight times for the day.

Eric started off the day with a stupid fast run and never really let up from there.  In fact, I think he may have had the lead the entire day.  Stephen, Chris N. and Mike all had very fast runs in the AM as well.  By lunch time after four runs, I was in 7th IIRC, something like 2 seconds behind Eric in the lead.  Ugh, not 7th place again.  It was fairly hot out that day, probably 85* or so, and my rear Maxsport tires weren't looking too happy, given that this was only their second event.  Since I didn't have much to lose, I decided to throw on my Maxxis gravel tires in the rear, since they're not as soft as the Maxsports and they're also wider.  I immediately started putting down fast times in the PM, but was still not as fast as Eric.  I finished the day in 2nd, some 3.5 seconds behind Eric, which in our class is an eternity.  Josh H. was about a second behind me in third, and Stephen was 0.2 back in fourth.  The spread from first to sixth was 8 seconds.  Mike G. was doing very, very well in the MR2 until he forgot how many times he had rotated the steering wheel in a corner and wound up taking out 6 cones, knocking him back to eighth place.

On Sunday we ran on the Tree course, which is shorter than the Barn course, but it does have a little elevation change to it.  Runs were in the 45-55 second range.  It's also notoriously dusty, with a much looser surface the Barn course.  There is some hard pack under all of that dust, but you can't count on it like you can at Barn.  Given how well I had done with my gravel Maxxis tires on the rear of the car Saturday, I decided to run them at all four corners Sunday, which looks like it may have been a mistake.  There were just too many loose sections in the course where I think the Maxsports would have performed better with their narrower size and softer compound.  Mike G. started off the day with a scorcher on the first run, and I followed up with a fast one on the second.  Then Josh had a fast one, then Eric.  For a minute there, I was in first place, but quickly fell back after going slightly wide in a corner or two and getting a little caught up in the deep dust.  In the afternoon Eric laid down another scorcher, followed by Chris N. with the fastest run of the day for MR.  But before we could run our third run there was a report of lightning in the area, and we had to call it quits for the day.  It looked like Mike G. was going to edge out Eric for the win until his low hanging skid plate decided to get friendly with both the start and finish timing gear, taking out many cones in the process.  Skid plates for mid-engined cars can apparently be a tricky thing.  Eric held onto first again, this time by only 0.2 over Stephen.  Josh was about 1.5 back from Stephen, and I was one second back from him in fourth.  There were very few cones hit by the top drivers all weekend; Eric hit one, I hit none, Josh hit two, and Stephen hit none.  In terms of season points, Stephen is still in the lead, with Eric right behind him.  Josh is a few back from Stephen, and I'm a few back from Josh.  The next two events are back at Panthera, but not until mid-October.  Plenty of time to ponder how I can go faster....
 

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/25/20 9:08 p.m.

The engine in the MR2 is a 2ZZZ out of a Lotus (Toyota engine, of course)

lxnm
lxnm Reader
8/26/20 10:50 a.m.
95maxrider said:

Skid plates for mid-engined cars can apparently be a tricky thing.  
 

Speaking from some experience on this, not really.  There no off-the-shelf skid plate options for MR2s, but they fabricate pretty much like normal.  

95maxrider
95maxrider Reader
8/27/20 7:33 a.m.
lxnm said:
95maxrider said:

Skid plates for mid-engined cars can apparently be a tricky thing.  
 

Speaking from some experience on this, not really.  There no off-the-shelf skid plate options for MR2s, but they fabricate pretty much like normal.  

I know, I was just poking fun at Mike :)

lxnm
lxnm Reader
8/27/20 10:41 a.m.

In reply to 95maxrider :

Oh, I'm throwing a bit of shade his way too.  Maybe justified when someone takes out timing with questionable engineering decisions.

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