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irish44j PowerDork
10/27/15 4:25 p.m.
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ wrote:
irish44j said: So I'm the NEDiv champion, in addition to being the Washington DC regional champion

Wooooo! Congrats- you seem to understand that, to put it in Gran Turismo terms, this means you've "leveled up" and it's time for Stage Rally.

So... I declare a showdown. You, me, Black River Stages 2016 (to give plenty of time in case one of us gets delayed). GRM RWD Rally Championship!

lol....if the Gods permit, I'll hopefully have the car ready for STPR next year. I definitely want to move to stage, but it's all dependent on finances, family time, etc. I still owe over $400k on this damn house paying on a single income....and a single stage rally costs more to do than a whole season of rally-x, which this year has been all I could swing with my other financial commitments (which also include a couple Chumpcar races). So.....I'll build the car as time and money allows and then decide where to go from there. No promises on any specific "first event" lol.

And you should know me well enough to know that I'm not going to do a stage rally until the car is "totally ready" in more ways than just being "legal to pass tech" lol. I want to make sure that if I don't complete my first rally, it's due to my doing something dumb driving and not due to overlooking something in the car build!

irish44j PowerDork
10/27/15 4:26 p.m.

btw Chris - you would have enjoyed it. In NY after we were done with the dirt track a few guys were out there doing test&tune for flat-track motorcycle racing. Those guys were freaking INSANE as slippery as it was and as fast as they were going, lol.

irish44j PowerDork
10/27/15 5:18 p.m.

Here's video of a run from the first night before the rain came and made it VERY slow. Was still pretty slippery even before the rain, and this was my second run so was still feeling out the course with no ability to "look ahead"


¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Dork
10/27/15 5:57 p.m.
irish44j wrote: btw Chris - you would have enjoyed it. In NY after we were done with the dirt track a few guys were out there doing test&tune for flat-track motorcycle racing. Those guys were freaking INSANE as slippery as it was and as fast as they were going, lol.

That does sound like my kind of party. I've raced MiniGP with a few ex-flat track guys; can confirm, absolutely nuts.

irish44j PowerDork
10/27/15 7:51 p.m.

And also some vid (no sound, whoops) of fooling around on the circle track. Much more exciting in person than on video, however...


irish44j PowerDork
10/31/15 9:45 p.m.

So.....happy halloween and all that. I pushed the "easy button" to take the girls trick-or-treating and just threw on some of my race stuff. Which turned out to be pretty popular with all of their friends lol.

Meanwhile.....cut out the broken exhaust piece

And got a patch pipe and welded it in (please once again ignore my sloppy welds....)

In other news, Ozgur is building the cage for his e30 (the white one that I took the drivetrain out of). But more importantly for this thread, he's bending a second tubing for my car at the same time, as can be seen sitting off to the left in this pic.

So, that's pretty exciting news I guess. Next weekend is the last local event of the season, so once that's done will get down to ripping out the interior, selling the 4-point rollbar, pulling the dash, and prepping for cage install later this winter. Ozgur is building an FIA cage, with sill boxes, so we should be able to get it tighter to the shell and have good access to upper welds. I'm also planning to link it into the front and rear shock towers as well (though the front left is going to be a challenge for sure). Anyhow, more on that when the time comes.

irish44j PowerDork
11/9/15 6:10 p.m.

So, a quick wrap up of the last event of the season, and will talk more about the season and off-season plans when I get a chance later....

WDCR Event #8

Having already locked up the class win, this was essentially a "for fun" event for me - though of course would like to win it as well just because. With Nick's e28 totaled I let him co-drive with me as well - he needed a 4th place or better finish to lock up 2nd in points for the season over Eric Eisele, who has been charging hard in the second half. Josh Sennett also finally made it out to an event, but again not in his car - he borrowed Mike Palcynski's PR 318is. MR class had 11 cars in a large (60-car) field.

In any case, since I didn't need the win I didn't bring my new/fresh set of tires and instead brought my old ones, 4 of which were at best 20% tread lol. Save the good ones for next year!

The course for the day was the longest we've ever run at this venue, very high-speed but with average times from 80-100 seconds depending on class.

Corey McKenzie also finally had the Volvo 240 (with turbo 740 engine swap) running again, and a few other volvos were out there as well in a Germany vs. Sweden battle.

So.....short recap of the event:

I was the first car in class off (third overall) in the morning session, so basically the "sweeper" car for loose gravel. And it was loose. First run was pretty fast but I took out three cones as there must have been 150 cones on this very, very long course and I had no rear grip with the shot tires (still up over 30lbs because we forgot to let air out!!).

Nick and Eric and Corey were fast right out of the gate and fairly clean so found myself once again playing catch up (this seems to happen a lot....). Going into the lunch break I was back about 9-10 seconds from the lead in 4th or 5th, IIRC.

In the afternoon the rear tires were treadbare so switched the better fronts to the back and put some much better ones on the front (which actually had some square shoulder left). The result was instant and I got the car more in-line and laid down a few very fast runs, getting back within about 5 seconds of the lead (into 3rd) with 2 runs left.

By earlier agreement, I wanted to do a run in Corey's Volvo (turbo, but with mostly stock suspension, most of its interior, stock comfy seats, and welded diff). I knew this was going to cost me some time (not to mention he was more or less tied with me for 3rd and driving my car was sure to help him). Be that as it may, wanted to do it since results didn't matter anyways.

His car is a TANK. But boy does it have some power. First half of the course took me a while to figure otu the welded diff, super-slow steering, and all the power. Then I got it down and tore up the second half. I ran about an 88 second run = about 3 seconds slower than my previous done in my own car, but still about what leader Eric Eisele ran in his own car. So....not terrible. Meanwhile, Corey was busy in my car laying down a 84 second run jumping him into the lead with one run left.

So for the last run I went back to my car and went full-bore just for the hell of it. And what do you know, I ran in the 82s, by far the fastest run of the day in the class. But I did cone. In the end, I ended up 3rd, less than 5 seconds behind Eric and Corey (who won by 0.2 seconds).

So....never know what "would" have happened, but suffice to say that if I had stayed in my car the whole time and Corey has stayed in his, that would have been roughly a 5-6 second swing there and I might have actually won the event (or at least been very, very close). But whatever - it was worth it to finally try out a Volvo 240 on course, since in the beginning 4 years ago I almost got one instead of the e30.

So, here's the final MR results for the event - the red arrow is the run I did in Corey's car showing the time difference and how it cost me (and helped him). In any case, will do a full-season wrap and off-season plans writeup in the near future.

paperpaper New Reader
11/9/15 6:27 p.m.
In other news, Ozgur is building the cage for his e30 (the white one that I took the drivetrain out of). But more importantly for this thread, he's bending a second tubing for my car at the same time, as can be seen sitting off to the left in this pic. So, that's pretty exciting news I guess. Next weekend is the last local event of the season, so once that's done will get down to ripping out the interior, selling the 4-point rollbar, pulling the dash, and prepping for cage install later this winter. Ozgur is building an FIA cage, with sill boxes, so we should be able to get it tighter to the shell and have good access to upper welds. I'm also planning to link it into the front and rear shock towers as well (though the front left is going to be a challenge for sure). Anyhow, more on that when the time comes.

cage drop off date. Dec 6th(tentative)

irish44j PowerDork
11/9/15 6:54 p.m.

Nice. We'll probably do mine after the holidays, depending on when Ozgur finishes it. He was up at ESPR this weekend and always in-demand for co-driving duties across the country....so not sure what his timetable is like.

irish44j PowerDork
11/14/15 6:41 p.m.

ok, so it's always been the long-term plan that everything has been built toward, but now it's time to make the car better, stronger, more reliable, and safer as we built toward Rally America/NASA Rally Sport.

While Ozgur builds the cage up in New York (to be installed later this winter) it's time to take care of some things that need taking care of. First of all the rear suspension/subframe. I've been getting some bad toe change in street driving and some banging off-road from the rear end and that's indicative of bad subframe/RTAB bushings. So let's take all that crap apart.

The Subframe bushings are OEM ones I put in 4 years ago, diff bushing is even older than that, and RTABs are Ireland Engineering poly bushes that seem to seize a bit.

So in advance, ordered new poly RTABs from IE and my man Carlos at Condor Speed Shop sent me some UHMW subframe and diff bushings. In a car like this I'm willing to suffer more NVH, since this entire care IS NVH, lol.

Taking stuff apart. Less fun when everything is coated with clay and dirt, even with my multiple washdown efforts. The cost of working on a rally car, right?

Dropping the subframe sucked as it was seized into the body mounts. I threaded it and screwed in a big bolt so I could bang it through from the top.

Upon disassembly of the rear end, the problem is clear. The subframe bushes have too much flex and when the subframe goes up during hard rear-end hits, the driveshaft is actually touching against the gas tank shield. That's no good.

Let's press those suckers out, after we remove my 1-piece exhaust (which will be replaced with the 2-piece I have sitting around once I weld the muffler to it.

Then I notice my toe-change issue: The RTAB bolts (original, probably), are worn and grooved and the holes in the rear subframe mounts are ovaled and nowhere near snug on them. So will ahve to either rebuild them or (easier) will just find a good rear subframe to replace it with.

Also pressed in a new diff bushing so everything has the same (small) amount of flex to it

OH, also ordered up some sheets of HDPE for underbody protection. In order to ahve good outer mounts (and protect/strengthen the beat-up rocker seam) I'm welding in some angle-iron pieces along the seam. That'll let me bolt up the underbody sheeting along the sides (and somewhere under the car) and gives me a new jacking point closer to the middle of the car.

irish44j PowerDork
11/22/15 6:15 p.m.

Some progress this weekend on things that I need to do on the car while I'm waiting to get the cage done, continued from above.

I got a box of stuff I ordered from McMaster - nuts and bolts to replace most everything under the car and some "typical" sizes to just have.

With my subframe no good, Jim Spoth was nice enough to give me one of the Chumpcar spares to use, which was in excellent condition. So with that in hand, it was time to start putting everything back together. First order of business was pressing all the new bushings in (some new Ireland poly RTAB bushings and Condor UHMW bushings in the subframe and diff mount:

Then refreshed my rear brake calipers with grease, etc.....and some new pads. Here's what I found when I took them off. Well, that's 4 seasons of OEM rear pads, so not unexpected. Replaced them with some Axxis Metal Masters I had sitting around, but will upgrade at some point

Also did a rear wheel bearing, one of which was TOTALLY shot, which explains the noise I was hearing driving to and from the last event of the season

Then I took a night off to go see Kamelot and Dragonforce at a nearby venue. Love me some progressive metal, and these are two of the best in the world.

Also in the meantime, another package came and it was two 1/4" sheets of HDPE which I'll cut and use for underbody protection under the floorboards to protect the fuel lines, brake lines, and the floors themselves. Need to get some weld nuts and decide how I want to mount them.

Then went ahead and lifted up the whole rear suspension. A tricky one-man job but got it done with few difficulties.

That was exhausting so took a break to switch my Wintersport 4Ds onto the SUbaru since it was in the 40s today and it's about that time...

Then the long process of putting everything back together, torquing things correctly, cleaning or replacing nuts and bolts, etc. But it's all back together now

Also put the "new" exhaust on with new hardware, rebuilt the OEM front hanger which was all rusty and bolts were broken, etc. This time instead of a full 1-piece welded exhaust (which was a major PITA on many occasions) I went with the stock setup with the compression spring bolts between the cat and catback.

And cut some pipe and adapted my muffler to the new exhaust, which runs a little higher to the car than the old one (a good thing)

yup, more ugly welds. But they'll do.

So that's it for the moment. Still need to bleed the brakes, and I put the Star Specs away for the witner so when the car goes back on its wheels it will be on the (ugh...) Winterforces. Torture to drive unless it's snowing.

On that note, met with Jim the other day and we decided to push to make it to the February 20th Waste Management Winter Rally in PA. It's a one-day coefficient 2 rally that is usually snow-covered with few RWD cars showing up. Looks like me, Chris Nonack (with a new RX-7 rally car build), Ozgur (finishing his e30), and Alp (in his e30) will all try to make it. So should be fun if we can all get our E36 M3 done in time.

mazdeuce PowerDork
11/23/15 11:24 a.m.

Thanks for the thorough write up of the refreshening for stage rally. I'm excited to follow along as you make the transition that so many of us that rallycross hope to make.

irish44j PowerDork
11/23/15 3:39 p.m.
mazdeuce wrote: Thanks for the thorough write up of the refreshening for stage rally. I'm excited to follow along as you make the transition that so many of us that rallycross hope to make.

just keep your expectations low for the time being lol. I plan to continue doing rallycross regularly and do the stage rally when I can afford to (e.g. 1 or 2 events per year probably), since I still also want to keep road racing (Chumpcar) and the budget it fairly thin ;)

irish44j PowerDork
11/28/15 6:58 p.m.

So the rear end is all back together, and my wife was nice enough to assist in bleeding the braking system with fresh fluid. Threw the wheels on and went for a drive and....wow. The back of the car feels about 1000 times better now. No slop, no toe changes on accel/decel. Feels better than it did even when I first built the car using stock bushings. With the Condor UHMW subframe and diff bushings I expected some additional NVH, but to be perfectly honest I don't notice any at all. I only took the car up to about 50-55 on local roads, so maybe some diff whine or something will come through at higher highway speeds, but this car is so loud in the first place it's not like it will make much difference if that's the case.

In any case, IDK why I didn't do the Condor rear bushings long ago, because it's well worth it.

Then I took some time and put together a master "to do" list in the garage. Thinking in the abstract it doesn't seem like I have all that much to do other than the cage, but once I write it all down, it's quite a daunting list. Hope I have the time (and money) to get all this done before Waste Management Winter Rally on February 20th, my planned debut for the car (and my slow driving in the snow).

For Thanksgiving we took a couple days to go down to my parents' place - they own a marina down on the Chesapeake and it's always a nice place to visit. Also dropped off my Christmas present request list to the parents, which consists of two 10B:C fire extinguishers and a spill kit, lol....very exciting :)

My dad's garage/workshop is slightly more impressive than mine...

And took the girls out on the boat for a while, since it wasn't too cold.

Worked today, but when I got home I had a package in the mail. Preface this by saying that for the last three years my motor mount setup has been with the Condor UHMW mounts (sometimes both, sometimes just one on the passenger side to increase throttle response with a stock on the driver's side for some vibration dampening). The M42 is a buzzy motor - not nearly as smooth as an M20 or M50, and one of the fellow e30 rallycrossers' broken motor mount tabs on the subframe pushed me to rethink what I'm using here. Though my subframe mounts are reinforced with the AKG kit, I'm stil pretty concerned about the M42 vibrations and the higher forces in stage rally breaking motor mount mount points and/or arms. So while I like the Condor solid mounts for road/rallycross/tarmac (and elsewhere ont he car), I decided to go with a softer material in the motor mounts for rally to try to mitigate my worries (valid or not).

Not wanting to go with the stock M42 mounts which simply don't hold up - other option being e28 535i mounts. That used to be a great option when they were dirt-cheap, but they've gone up in price substantially so not really a budget upgrade any more. So I went ahead and got some 80A durometer poly mounts. I think they'll do fine and they're not too much stiffer than stock so should take some of the force off the subframe mounts, hopefully. Installed, the engine feels more like it did with stock mounts - e.g. much less vibration, obviously, since this is a fairly soft Poly (not their track or solid ones, which are stiffer).

Anyhow, they're motor mounts. Install was unremarkable and the motor sits on them. But pics since I take pics of everything, right....

The plan for tomorrow is to do the other sill pinch weld rail on the driver's side if I get a chance, and maybe make some templates for the underbody protection.

irish44j PowerDork
11/29/15 6:22 p.m.

So got the driver's side sill done, so cross one thing off the list. And yes, those are a few rivets used to located the piece while I welded it.

Then went ahead and pulled the passenger seat and the roll bar. The seat sliders will be sold to raise some cash, and the rollbar as well will be in Josh Sennett's rallycross e30 to help offset the cost of the cage.

Then of course a problem showed up that I KNEW would be a problem 4 years ago but I half-assed it due to not having welding stuff...The passenger rear floor had some rust and I just fiberglassed it and said "good enough" back then. Well, not good enough any more. It's even rustier now and time to replace the middle of the floor, especially the big "drain plug" area, since this part of the car sits low and takes a lot of hits from underneath.

With the roll bar out now there's space to do it the right way, so will weld in a patch panel this week at some point, as well as work on building some crossbars to mount the seats directly to (since sliders aren't allowed in stage rally).

tearing apart...

irish44j PowerDork
11/30/15 6:30 p.m.

yay, floor welding. There is no limit to how much I hate dealing with floors and 35 years of clay, dirt, and undercoating that have to be cleaned off or have constant little mini-fires....

Plus trying to do it with .035 flux core because I'm too lazy to change the wire....yeah, should have just changed the wire and made my life easier. Welding thin stuff.....still low on my list of things I'm any good at.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Dork
11/30/15 6:49 p.m.

I'm impressed you managed it with flux core at all! Otherwise I have no sympathy for your one, tiny, evenly shaped floor patch.

irish44j PowerDork
11/30/15 8:49 p.m.

lol....well it's only evenly-shaped because I cut it out that way on purpose

Getting an argon bottle is high on the priority list for the next couple weeks for the cage...just trying to use as much of this 10lb reel of fluxcore as possible on stuff that doesn't need to look pretty.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Dork
11/30/15 8:57 p.m.

Get a bigger one than you think you need- I got tired of filling mine (20 cf) after about the third consecutive refill in one week.

irish44j PowerDork
12/1/15 3:22 p.m.

Yeah....will probably go to my uncle's farm and grab one. He probably has a dozen empties sitting around. So I'll take whatever he gives me for free, lol. WHen we do the cage Ozgur is bringing hsi bottle down too so hopefully we'll be ok :)

Petrolburner HalfDork
12/2/15 12:35 p.m.

Congrats on the season championships! I wish we had Rally cross here.

irish44j PowerDork
12/4/15 10:14 p.m.

So working on stuff....

First off, patching up the swiss cheese that I made in the floorpans with the various seats and harnesses and such I've had in this car over the years (plus some holes/damage from the previous owner and/or rallycross). One of my least favorite things to do is to weld holes up.

With that done, decided to just go ahead and pull the dash so I can sort out some of the mess of wiring back there. ok, it's not all that bad since I've removed so much of the OEM wiring. But some of my routing over the years has been questionable at best, so trying to get the wiring more.....organized. Plus I need to add a few things and modify a few things for Rally America/NRS regs. More on that later.

Also replaced my ghetto-fab Hella bumper mounts with some that are slightly less ghetto-fab, and don't stick out quite as far or get in the way of the front tow hooks like the old ones kind of did.

So....all that done, time to get down to some seat mounts. I was going to just use some U-channel running across the floor but two things: First, the only place locally that seems to carry it will only sell it to me in 20-foot pieces, which I can't get home easily - or charge me $15 per cut for them to make some cuts. Screw that.

Also I wanted a bit more adjustability in my mount locations than bars may provide. So decided to re-modify the 370Z baseplate that I modified for the sliders last year. This time ran some 1/4" flat bar under it, welded it to the baseplate, and fitted the setup directly to the OEM flat mount areas that are the strongest metal in that area of the chassis. I ran the flat stock to the rocker inner edges and the trans tunnel with small backing plates as well. I'm about 90% done with the passenger side and it seems to be working out well. Plus it lowers the seat as far as possible for headroom.

I also moved the seats inboard as far as they would go to clearance the roll cage bar doors as much as I could. The other upside to using the plates is that it allows me to keep the inboard seatbelt mounts, since I plan to keep the OEM belts in the car for street driving in addition to harnesses for racing.

weld-nuts on the bottom of the baseplate to bolt the seats side-mounts to. All of this took a lot of measuring and re-measuring and test-fitting multiple times, but it all seems to fit exactly as planned.

irish44j PowerDork
12/6/15 8:16 p.m.

More progress in the last few days. Finished up the passenger seat mount and built the driver's mount as well (though it's not installed yet, maybe this week).

Jim (my co-driver for rally and the owner of the Chump e30 I drive with, for those who forgot), came over for the morning and we got quite a bit accomplished, including removal of the front and rear windshields (to make cage construction easier), the sunroof delete panel, removal of various other little things that it's time to take out (sun visors, grab handles), and Jim spent some time cutting out the breakaway bolts on the upper steering column and replacing them with regular bolts (so we can adjust the angle of the steering column once everything is in place).

Josh S. came by to pick up my old roll bar for his rallycross e30 (also sold my Red46 skid plate, which is still in great shape after 4 seasons of beating, but I will be adding something more extensive for rally). Also a local high school student who had contacted me via email came over and we helped him out with a few minor issues he was having on his nice e21. All in all we had three generations of 3-series at my house today :)

Meanwhile, Ozgur says the cage bending is coming along nicely so hopefully we'll get that thing in here in the next month or so. In the meantime trying to take care of everything else so I can get the car logbooked as soon as the cage is done.


In other news rallycross-related....SCCA this year has created a new level, with three national championship regional events (East, West, and Central), which slot in just below "the" national championship that is held every year out in the midwest, and above the divisional national challenge series. Apparently the SCCA main office will run the three championships just like they run nationals, so there will be more organization, promotion, press, etc. So that's pretty cool.

And as luck would have it, the first East Coast Championship will be held at our home venue in Frostburg. So that is pretty sweet indeed - though it remains to be seen if this car will still be highly competitive in rallycross with all the extra weight that it's getting with the cage, bigger skids, etc. I plan to run a full rallycross season again this year as well as a couple of stage rallies (depending on finances, basically).

irish44j PowerDork
12/12/15 7:59 p.m.

As Ozgur continues to bend the cage up in Pennsylvania (we expect to do the install right after new year's if all goes as planned), I'm working out some other things. This week's project was upgraded skidplate.

The first part of the plan is that it will have a DOM tubing U-brace that comes down from the forward frame rails just ahead of the oil pan. This is where the "bend" of the plate will be. That will be installed when we do the cage.

In the meantime, doing the other aspects of it. The rear mount will be on the front subframe (though the skid will extend about a foot past that, and then have HDPE sheeting beyond that over the rear of the transmission. So this is the rear mount. I managed to score up a few pieces of U-profile steel bars that are used for the heavy-duty shelving we put up to the ceiling in the warehouse at work. So it's pretty strong, as these shelves hold thousands and thousands of pounds of stuff. I coudl have gone heavier-duty, but frankly I'd rather have this piece bend/break on a brutal hit than have the subframe itself do so, so I think this is about right (it's about 12-gauge or so).

In any case, I cut the length needed, and put another strip of 16ga down the middle, tacked that down, and then drilled it for weld nuts. I left weld nut lips down below to help with alignment of the plate (and protecting the bolt threads from getting maimed on hard skidplate hits, hopefully).

As to the plate itself, I've been talking with Ben from Red46 Sump Armor, who builds medium-duty (street/rallycross/track) skidplates for various BMWs. I've really liked the plate of his that I've been using for 4 seasons of rallycross - heavy-duty, stainless, and laser-cut. So I sent him some specs and he's going to fab up a larger one-off plate for me when he gets a chance. So that will be pretty awesome.

java230 Reader
12/13/15 12:39 a.m.

Sweet! Can't wait to see it logbooked. It's looking like the SCCA will run a few events in the PNW this year! I'd like to make one or two, but would need to find a hard top.

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