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simontibbett
simontibbett Reader
4/26/16 8:21 p.m.

Well the 2016 “The Mitty” was not the smoothest weekend.

The lead up was hectic as usual. Tuesday we spent the day working with, you guessed it, brakes. We still had issues after all the bleeding, installing new lines, yada yada. So my last thought was to dump the stock proportioning valve. To do this I had to put in a Wilwood bias knob which I had purchased for a disc conversion. I decided to go with the popular disc conversion process but keep the drums for the weekend to avoid any hiccups. So we got a line made from the master cylinder, to the bias knob, out the bias knob and into a “T” and off to each rear wheel. Stock the car has a line from the master to each rear wheel, now just a single line.

Getting to work on new lines for the T.

The stock prop box out.

The master after blocking off one line.

Fittings made for the bias knob.

The “T”

We got the lines made but Wednesday I had previous commitments to visit the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta with Racing for Kids so I didn’t have time to work on the car. Luckily my dad offered to come out to my place to take over on swapping lines and everything. He got it all finished up and we went to bleed it before taking the car over to the track. After numerous attempts we didn’t get much pedal feel but loaded it anyway.

It was nice to make kids smile at the hospital. There is a smile under there I swear.

Thursday morning I arrived to find two nice puddles under both rear wheels, it was brake fluid. My first thought was great the new wheel cylinders are for some reason shot. I jacked the car up and couldn’t find a leak anywhere so I jacked the car up and placed some cardboard underneath. No sign of a leak. So I assumed it was probably just left over mess dripping from Wednesday’s last bleed. I went for a test drive and quickly realized the brakes were as bad as they had been and the prop box was not the actual problem. It became clear drums were indeed the issue. It took half the brake pedal to even see the pads expand. Not just that but we couldn’t get the adjuster to actually adjust or stay adjusted if we adjusted it manually. I’m sure we could have just rebuilt them but they’re a confusing uphill mess.

So Thursday afternoon I realized I had one last option. Disc brake conversion. Right now. We got to work but kept needing small things here and there. At around ten we had to crank up the generator and air grinder to grind down a bit to make the caliper bolts fit. We finally finished it up at one in the morning.

Getting to work.

TRASH!

So thankful to have friends who are willing to stay up until one in the morning to help me race. Especially these guys who drove down from TN that day.

Friday morning I was pumped and ready to hit the track for the first session of the weekend but of course there was an issue. While bleeding (had to wait until that morning because I needed to pick up another brake line from the shop) the car started leaking from the RR caliper pretty badly. So I missed the session while I worked on fixing the problem. Luckily it was fixed and the bleeding continued, this time with a pedal that didn’t feel like jelly.

So the second session Friday came and it was wet. I was actually kind of happy to see a wet track as some people would opt out of practicing since it would be dry the rest of the weekend and it would give me a chance to mess with the brakes and bias adjustments. The first lap was cautious and I slowly built up speed as I adjusted the bias. I started pretty full to the front and dialed it back. I finished second overall in that session on the time sheets but as I said it was wet and people were being cautious.

The next session Friday was a race. The Bob Woodman American International Challenge. This race puts “Foreign Production Sports Cars & Sedans (over 1.5L) vs. American GT Cars by invitation (Groups 2, 3, 5)” together for a fun race. Last year there was a massive field of cars, I think over 60, this year they split it into two different races and split cars to more reasonable speeds. The race was fun as usual. There is a video of it below.

Saturday morning we had our final qualifying session before the first WeatherTech Sprint Race of the weekend. I had pole for the race in class (HPC) but at the start the orange Rabbit behind got the jump, a little aggressive for a pass at the start but luckily I could avoid hitting him. From then on it was playing catch up as that killed my momentum. We had a full course caution come out with a lap or two to go when I started to get a misfire as I have had previously. It got bad enough I had to pull in to retire as the checkered flag came out, I still got third in class though from the gap.

Sunday morning was race two of the WeatherTech Sprint Series. I was pretty excited to get this race underway and optimistic that the car would do ok. We cleaned up some grounds that we found in questionable shape and charged the battery. Funny how I always find these things at the track and not when I’m playing with wires in the shop. Maybe I’m blind. I’m starting to think the missing issue may be electrical and not fuel, who knows though.

It was cooler as the race was in the morning, so the car would like the cool air. I was starting further behind the orange Rabbit which I wanted to catch. I was able to make up ground and got pretty close, sadly I couldn’t get close enough, traffic is a big part of vintage racing and I couldn’t get through. You can see the entire race on video below. So that sums up the 2016 Mitty for us. It wasn’t as smooth as 2015 but there was fun on track action as usual. What now? Time to go back to the drawing board and come up with a fix for all the charging/missing issues. We threw the idea of Webbers around but that won’t be legal if I want to stay in Prod. The popular choice is MS in HP but I hate wiring. As for the charging issues we’re looking at ripping everything out and wiring it up like a boat, bare minimum of everything.

Stay tuned for updates. For now here’s photos and videos from the week! These photos are from my wife, since we had some mechanical issues she didn’t get a chance to shoot from other corners. I’ll post other shots as I find them that others took.

My “crew chiefette” aka wife. So thankful to have a 100% supportive wife that isn’t scared to get her hands dirty at the track.

Videos:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/uVbcr3EkGTg

https://www.youtube.com/embed/V_SBtQvKwUQ

https://www.youtube.com/embed/UFNM0qLW-lI

mazdeuce
mazdeuce UltimaDork
4/26/16 8:28 p.m.

Very cool. Keep chipping away and you'll get the bugs worked out. The great thing about vintage racing is that it's just fine if it takes another year, the car will just be more vintage.

simontibbett
simontibbett Reader
4/27/16 12:43 p.m.
mazdeuce wrote: Very cool. Keep chipping away and you'll get the bugs worked out. The great thing about vintage racing is that it's just fine if it takes another year, the car will just be more vintage.

True! haha

Is it just me or are all my photos/videos showing up as code? Seems some other threads look that way too.

DeadSkunk
DeadSkunk UltraDork
4/27/16 2:09 p.m.

In reply to simontibbett:
It's not just you.

84FSP
84FSP Dork
4/27/16 3:04 p.m.

My recent autox adventures in El Rabbitto have been much the same. Getting all the bugs worked out of hopped up 80's tech takes patience...

jgrewe
jgrewe Reader
4/27/16 5:28 p.m.

Glad the discs solved the brake problem. I'm planning on having my IMSA RS RX2 up there for the Mitty next year. I'll hang on to those front calipers for you, let me know when you head down this way.

simontibbett
simontibbett Reader
4/27/16 5:33 p.m.
jgrewe wrote: Glad the discs solved the brake problem. I'm planning on having my IMSA RS RX2 up there for the Mitty next year. I'll hang on to those front calipers for you, let me know when you head down this way.

Yeah thanks for hooking me up with them!! Awesome on the RX2! I'll look forward to seeing that. I'll shoot you an e-mail when I'm down that way.

TED_fiestaHP
TED_fiestaHP New Reader
4/28/16 7:52 a.m.

Great story, Glad to hear you got it working. Brakes seem to be technically simple things, but they tend to cause a lot of frustration.

For charging, might consider a Mini single wire alternator. Often in Production, many just use a battery, I prefer to have the alternator, to save weight I use a lawn tractor battery.

A miss, might not have anything to do with the injection.  Could be ignition or a valve train issue, I had a rocker arm seize onto the rocker shaft, seemed just like a ignition miss. The valve would open but not properly shut, causing a miss.  Your valve train is rather simple, but you could have a weak valve spring or a valve not seating perfectly.

 I think in production you would be allowed to run a single weber, but you might have a hard time finding the manifold for that set-up.  You would have to check the specific rules for your car.
simontibbett
simontibbett Reader
4/28/16 12:38 p.m.
TED_fiestaHP wrote: Great story, Glad to hear you got it working. Brakes seem to be technically simple things, but they tend to cause a lot of frustration. For charging, might consider a Mini single wire alternator. Often in Production, many just use a battery, I prefer to have the alternator, to save weight I use a lawn tractor battery. A miss, might not have anything to do with the injection. Could be ignition or a valve train issue, I had a rocker arm seize onto the rocker shaft, seemed just like a ignition miss. The valve would open but not properly shut, causing a miss. Your valve train is rather simple, but you could have a weak valve spring or a valve not seating perfectly. I think in production you would be allowed to run a single weber, but you might have a hard time finding the manifold for that set-up. You would have to check the specific rules for your car.

Yeah I think MS is the way to go, looks like in Prod for my car fuel injection has to stay.

For the miss it seems like it's fuel I always thought it was because my air fuel gauge goes really rich. There's no telling though, it's the same deal that happened back in July when it was really hot and led me to think it was maybe heat soak according to some who run CIS.

I'll look into the drivetrain.

Thanks!

vwcorvette
vwcorvette GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
4/28/16 8:12 p.m.

Had a miss at revs when at NHMS last summer. Pulled the injectors and bypassed the fuel pump to check fuel spray. One injector had a bad pattern. Blew it clean with carb cleaner and compressed air. All good. I'd check there first. These cars are simple, but can get complex when you over think them.

simontibbett
simontibbett Reader
5/8/16 11:21 a.m.
vwcorvette wrote: Had a miss at revs when at NHMS last summer. Pulled the injectors and bypassed the fuel pump to check fuel spray. One injector had a bad pattern. Blew it clean with carb cleaner and compressed air. All good. I'd check there first. These cars are simple, but can get complex when you over think them.

I'll check that. What I really need is a good ol' track day/test day to just have loads of time to get on track and try different things.

simontibbett
simontibbett Reader
5/16/16 1:12 p.m.

Cool little article on budget racing featuring the Rabbit on Turnology:

http://www.turnology.com/features/racing-rabbit-production-car-racing-on-a-budget/

simontibbett
simontibbett Reader
8/1/16 9:08 p.m.

I have been busy lately with work so haven’t had time to update the prep work and a recap of the last race. So I’m going to now!

The lead up to the race was spent wiring. Lots of wiring. I was getting mad that the alternator wasn’t charging right so ripped apart the harness again to rewire everything I could. I found a lot of sketchy grounds and even found a OEM fuse box back in the nest of wires I didn’t know existed! I’m no pro but managed to clean it up good enough, label wires, and get the alternator working! So now we have the right amount of volts, no slow starts, and maybe even fixing some of the misfire issues it had in the past.

The race was July 23-24 at Road Atlanta. It was an SCCA double SARRC/SECS/and whatever else, a regional type deal not a Majors round or anything. I would also be on new sticky tires! So we were in pretty good shape starting out. Saturday morning came and I was up for qualifying. I didn’t run at all Friday during the test day because I got caught up trying to do my own alignment. I had done a simple toe adjustment on a Miata before but I kept getting off of what I wanted on the Rabbit so I spent the evening fine tuning it the best I could.

Anyway, qualifying was a twenty minute session but I planned to just do a few warmup laps and a flier. I got out and scrubbed the tires in a little and kept catching traffic but managed to slow down enough to build a gap. I got pole in class by a little under a second I think, second car being a Datsun 510. One cool note, we had 7-8 HP entries during the weekend which was great.

Race one came Saturday afternoon, no rain as of yet so we were on new tires and ready to go. I had a bad start as my shift linkage kept causing me to miss 4th and get nothing so the 510 got by but I got him again into the esses, he got by again on the back straight. Second lap coming out of turn 7 I was at the top of 3rd going to 4th when I thought I had 4th but I had second instead. No good. So needless to say that bent a couple of valves (the theory so far) and that was the end of the weekend. Racing is a tough sport.

So the car is already being torn down by yours truly. I have also decided to paint the interior. Why? I don’t know, I like clean race cars. The head is already removed, I don’t visibly see bent valves but we’ll see once I get it torn down a little more. I have a replacement head on the way but I’ll probably have this freshened up as it’s a very good head (so I’m told) and it does look pretty.

So that’s about all I have for now. Some may have seen the car listed for sale. It is on the market but I’m in no hurry to sell. Even after this past weekend if I’m not looking to just dump it that should say how much fun I have in this thing! I keep driving the older MX-5 Cup cars at work and wanting a Spec Miata more and more though. The next race for the VW is next month with HSR, another vintage weekend. We’ll be there!

Video:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/bVlePjbaL-w

Photos:

Some of the wiring mess I was dealing with.

Slowly but surely I cleaned up some grounds, untangled wires, and kept labeling everything I could trace.

A majority of the wiring here is for the switches and gauges. The issue was the alternator was wired to a switch and although I did wire in a new switch for The Mitty, it was not wired right on my end and was doing nothing.

Putting things back together. I also picked up an AIM Solo to use as a lap timer and to look at data. Very nice tool to have.

I needed some bling to go along with the new tires so gave my wheels a fresh coat of “Chevy Orange.”

Out of the shop and on the ground. Getting ready to load up.

If you have driven on new race rubber you know how amazing it is. Well worth the money but addictive…

Another interior shot.

Ready to go have some fun.

I will say it was a seriously hot weekend to be wearing racing gear.

The start of Saturday’s race and taking back first in HP.

Rabbit’s love grass. No we loaded the car in a small little grassy area where we could easily push it onto the trailer. No winch…

Let the fun begin…

The valves, I may be missing something as I won’t pretend to be an amazing mechanic, I’m always learning, but there’s nothing that I noticed that was obviously bent, even turning it over with a wrench.

Since I like clean cars (or as clean as it can be) it’s a perfect time to scrub hard to reach places in the engine bay.

The start of the interior painting. I already have the entire back half done (not done in this photo) I just need to finish the roof back there then move to the front. It will look better for sure.

So that’s it for now. More updates to come!

simontibbett
simontibbett Reader
10/30/16 6:46 p.m.

“…but Simon, your car was for sale?”

It was yeah, then I decided to rebuild it. So here we continue. Whether I keep it or put it back up for sale is TBD. I currently have a race lined up this upcoming weekend in a Miata at Road Atlanta then at the end of the month I'll be racing a B-Spec car down at Sebring. I'll update this thread on those races just to give some more insight on racing. If anyone wants a new zero hour 1.8 race engine built correctly, $5000 and it’s yours!

Anyway, the engine and gearbox were removed, the head had already been taken to a race shop for new valves and all but when I decided to keep it I decided to take him the bottom end as well, plus have the head freshened a little more as there was a little more power to be made legally within the class. The valves are OEM style valves, titanium retainers, keeping the cam I had, etc.

Getting the engine disassembled to take to the engine shop.

The bottom end appeared ok but with the ding in the pistons I decided to replace them versus risking it. So I bought new Wiseco forged pistons, we went ahead and ordered new rods as well, bearings, etc. So a decent amount of engine work (spent more on that then I paid for the whole car…ouch.) but it will make a little more power now too so that’s a bonus. Overall the internals helped save a little weight and displacement was bumped up a tad.

When removing everything I saw the clutch was well worn, so in will go a new race clutch. I also came across an odd sign where the pressure plate had some marks on it and a loose bolt, so to be safe I bought a new pressure plate and all new bolts.

So the shifter issue should be good now, as I have replaced every external bushing I can including the whole shifter assembly.

Interior wise I did paint the interior as I had wanted to, also in that process I put a carbon fiber OMP seat in, it’s not mint fabric wise but it should be drastically safer and it’s a lot more comfortable (deep) than the Corbeau I did have. Other than those things the interior remains the same.

“In progress” shot.

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