Tuesday, September 7, 2010

New engine, old engine, more parts

Bill, Cody, and I hit the Newark pick-n-pull on Monday, Labor day (1/2 price weekend!), and took apart the engine from a 1986 Acura Integra to get the pistions and connecting rods (we want the con rods). Stripped off the piston rings and tossed them in the nearby cars. Then we went off to find the "best" of the 1988-89 Integras. There were 4 of them and we picked the one in row 109.

We pulled the engine and transmission out and harvested the end gears and cover from the transmission so we can put those on the spare transmission. Then took the transmission, clutch, and flywheel off since we wern't buying those. We then pulled the head off and the oil pan off so we could get the pistions out and slide in the pistons/con rods from the 1986. This way we would only have to pay for the "engine" ($80 for half price day). We packed up and left with the engine (and alternator), starter, a few extra little parts and an oil pump from the 1986 that Bill is selling separately. ~$170 with the core charges.

I took those back to the shop (Hayward), and after I grabbed some lunch and water! I moved the engine inside (had to push the HondAcura out side to get the engine hoist over to the truck).

I then pulled the head from the low compression motor, this was the one with the dropped valves (busted retainer), and looked inside. The valves are not actually broken, the #3 cylinder valve is jammed open by a piece of metal, and the #4 is bent and won't close, probably because it hit the pistion. See the picture. Looks like something was bouncing around in cylinder 1, 3, 4 and maybe 2. The aluminum (silver) on the chamber roof, probably came from the pistion tops.

Because the tops of the #3, #4 and probably #1 pistion appear to have been dented by something small bouncing around in the cylinder. Not sure what that piece of metal stuck in the valve is, but its probably a part of a bolt or nut. Which came from ???????

The good news is we have a new engine to refurb, and we can build a second one from the other two blocks and good heads.

I have the bad head and the old block in the truck, I'll be dropping those off at PnP for the core $$.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Team StimPack brings home a trophy! In only 9 laps...and wasn't even kicked off the track!

Wow, what a whirlwind weekend!! We haven't posted in a long time as the wrenches have flying at Team StimPack's new adopted HQ! We got the engine running on a craigslist turbo just before the event but after diagnosing bad turbo bearings, we replaced them and got glorious boost for 30 seconds! :-( Turbo bearings again... While we were rebuilding it we saw that it was damaged inside, but hoped it would last longer!

We had decided to switch to E85 fuel and when the turbo didn't work out we ran with it anyhow. How bad could it be?? Our theme was corn based this time to go with it. Subsidizes put to good use!

We had a good engine in the car that was running strong, and another as a spare heading into the race weekend, but it didn't work out as planned...

Drivers this time were Bill, Dan, Martyn, and Salah. Darryl, Cody, Bob B, and Tim C showed up to spectate and help. The details are as follows:

Our first engine was our low compression version that we had built to be turbocharged (but the turbo had failed last week). We were running E85 fuel with 440 cc/min injectors. I went out on track and the car was running pretty well but not as strong as normal (top speed was ~85 vs ~100). The car lost power badly after 20 min and I pulled in to find rod knock. Pulling the oil pan off we found the crank and rod bearings were toast. We decided our used spare bearings weren't good enough and ordered some from the part store. Engine swap #1 begins...

We finish the swap in 3 hours, go through tech and BS inspections, then head out on track with an hour or 2 left in the test session.

The car ran rough and overheated. In troubleshooting we switched to the stock 240 cc/min injectors.  That didn't help and the car seemed to run rougher and rougher. After much deliberation we replaced the bearings in engine #1 and installed it 1/2 way that night before the lights went out.

On a positive note the theme is a huge hit! We boiled up dozens of corn cobs and gave them away, and popcorn and corn whiskey (Jack Daniels).

We arrive at the track at daybreak (6:00) and finish the swap by the 8:00 drivers meeting. Race starts at 9:00 and the car is running badly. It only liked being @ 4200 rpm at first, and soon overheated.

The head gasket had leaked at cyl's 2 and 3 and the engine had consumed it's water. This head was known to have questionable flatness (aka out of tolerance) so we pulled the other engine's head and installed that.

In the midst of this the starter quit. Dan tried to fix it to no avail.  We strapped another driver in, push started it and sent him out...only to have return immediately because of a major oil leak.

We changed the split oil pan gasket and tried push starting again.

This time the car lurched, spit something out the back, and barely ran. We told Salah to try to do some laps, but he got pushed back to our pit...  Diagnosis: a valve retainer had let go and the rocker arm flew and dislodged the adjacent cylinder's rocker. Two bent valves and dented pistons.

So we then take the bad head over to the on-site machine shop and with Darryl's help get it machined flat. We rebuilt that engine and completed swap #3 last night.  As a last step, we pumped out most of the E85 and filled the tank with gas.

More corn, popcorn, and 2 liters of Jack was dispensed and shared.

The car started really strong but 20 minutes in, bearing failure again.  Total race laps logged: only 9!  With 3 engines!

Dejected we packed up and most of us left after lunch. It took some restraint to not have the car crushed!

But, at the award ceremony, Dan and Tim C (visiting), we won the "Most Heroic Fix" award for our efforts! (picture at top of post)

Here's the full collection of Martyn's pics and video clips:
click here: Picasa photos

Monday, February 8, 2010

Infineon video clip

Here's the first video clip we have from Saturday. My first of two spins:

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Infineon is a blast! But quite challenging...

Darryl, Aric, Dan, and I descended upon Infineon raceway today for testing out and breaking in the new motor. The car ran great! We were keeping up with the V8 volvo Lemons car out there like we're usually able to do at Lemons events (depending on drivers). The rain this morning made it really challenging but really educational. We racked up quite a few spins between us. We had to get towed back onto the track twice (a first for me) after going off into the mud.

After lunch it dried out for a little while and we got some really fun session in. My "best" one ended with a spin coming out of turn 8 and going sideways and backwards into a tire wall. The right side is banged up, but nothing another $5 can of spray paint can't fix! Well, that and the sledge hammering we had to do the rear fender to re-flare the rear fender away from the tire (it was originally flared by sledge hammer too).

This will be a race of attrition...and serious numbers of black flags racked up! I hope we can drive clean. Today's practice will really help that...if we got the spins out of our system!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Motor back in the car! Goin' testing at Infineon!

Well, long story short, we sent the new JY rods to a shop to have them resized after putting in ARP rod bolts and the F'ing Post Office screwed up and we didn't get them back until last Wednesday. We re-assembled the motor Thurs & Fri evenings and got the motor in the car on Saturday. When we went to start it that evening we saw a shower! A Golden Shower to be specific... The fuel injector O-rings were all leaking so badly that they were spraying fuel in streams across the top of the motor. I guess that's a good thing instead of a non-obvious leak that resulted in fire! We replaced the O-rings the next day and she started up great!

We replaced the front hub bearings (that we bought during the last race at the track but could not install them w/o a press) on Sunday but even that had drama as we overlooked the bearing circlips buried in the grease. Oh well, after breaking that hub we got another from the JY and got it fixed up.

We took the car parking lot testing Monday night and she runs fine. We're going go to Infineon for a track day this Saturday to break her in and learn the track ourselves. Should be a blast!!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Getting ready for Sears Pointless!

The first Lemons race at Infineon Raceway will be on March 6&7. Our car is in pretty good shape for the race. Except for the fact that it has no engine in it and I tore down our "good engine" to replace the rods. After our last race when we blew our third engine I did some more research and found that the previous model year's connecting rods were beefier and should help us not break them so easily!

Here's the difference between our current rod size (silver here) and the ones we just pulled over the weekend in the junkyard:

Hard to tell the difference? Well they're ~.1" thicker and wider (~20%).

We're going testing!
Assuming we get this thing back together in the next 3 weeks, we're doing a track day at Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey to "break in" the new motor! My fingers are crossed!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Long overdue update!

I haven't made the time to post here in a few months and it's long overdue. We just completed the 2009 Arse-Freeze-Apolooza race at Thunderhill just before Thanksgiving. Or, at least we tried to complete it! The engine blew up 2 hours before the finish. :(

We had taken the time to tear down a "new" junkyard engine and machine the head and block and replace all the bearings, rings, and gaskets. However we just finished assembling it the weekend before the race and didn't have the time to install it. We also never took the time to at least inspect the bearings in the engine that was in the car (and was in for the Buttonwillow race after they did the Friday night swap). We finished in 70th place out of 152 cars.

The drivers this time were Mark, Tim, Mike, and Alex who flew in from New Mexico. Here's a link to our album of pictures:
2009 Thunderhill

Now we'll get the rebuilt engine in and decide which 2010 races to enter! Hopefully we'll finish more than one to better our 2009 record!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Buttonwillow Belly Flop!!!

Well, Team StimPack's core drivers wanted a break and decided not to enter the Buttonwillow LeMons race on August 15-16. So, we let our rookie driving crew members take the car and enter the event to try out the LeMons scene out. (We sent two drivers to "chaperon" and help them out.) Driver Terence was filling in as the team leader as yours truly was in Hawaii. :-) Terence said he'd give me a more complete write up soon, but I'll give the short story here.

Friday test day: boom! The engine blew first thing in the morning. They rip it out and await Mark's arrival that evening with the spare motor. They finished the swap at ~4:00 am. The car ran briefly and they went to bed.

Saturday: The car wouldn't run well when they tried again. They weren't able to get it running again until and hour or so into the race. Things went downhill from there... *Every* driver out spun the car (mostly going off into the dirt) and got black flagged to come in for a penalty. I'm told they were almost not allowed to continue into Sunday!

Here's a video clip that shows a really close call (skip to 8:00 to see TSP):

Sunday: It went *further* downhill from there... The every session spin rate continued, and by the end of the day they had their wristbands clipped early and were told to pack it up... Here's a video summary that driver Aric put together:

And, lastly, here's how Judge Johnny felt about TSP and another "notable" team after the event as posted on the LeMons forum:

C.Plavan wrote:
Is there anyway to post how many Black flags each team recieved? It would just be for pure shame...and laughs....

Judge Jonny, Justice of the Court, responded:

Worst offenders this last race were car #5 (the Blue 944) and #78 (Team Stimulus Package in the gold Civic).

The #5 Porsche was so awful they ran up SEVEN black flags on Saturday. In their defense (why am I defending them?) one of their drivers went four off, spun, passed under yellow AND ignored black flags for an hour. So, they got four at once.

Still, I had a nice talk with them and explained that the record of 9 black flags (set by the Sharks, of course, in Houston) will never be equaled or broken. They had to drive the rest of the race as angels.

Late in the day on Sunday, after they'd been driving very well all day, they pull into the pits. Metal on metal with car #78. Honestly, I shouldn't have let them back on the track. HOWEVER, it was car #78, in all honesty the worst team we'd seen in a while. And from all accounts, car #78 was at fault.

Taking a risk (one more black and #5 would tie the Sharks!) I sent both cars back. Within three minutes #78 was back for hitting a car, and I cut all of their yellow drivers bracelets off their wrists.

Well, there you have it. A Buttonwillow Belly Flop by TSP! Now we're going to up to LeMons HQ with our tail between our legs, and bribes under our arms, and let them know that this was just a fluke!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

autocross video footage

I got the video clips together from Sunday's autocross. I didn't get a chance to film on Saturday as I only got two runs in before the low pressure fuel pump revealed that it had previously siezed... The video clips totaled about 12 minutes so I had to break them into two parts. (Note: the resolution is allegedly better if you hit the HQ button after it starts playing. It will take you to YouTube directly.)

It was a lot of fun to huck a toilet equipped car around the course! FWIW, I only got a 0.1 sec better time around the course in my Subaru WRX with lots of suspension mods!

Monday, June 29, 2009

time to flog the car around some cones!

We're going to head down to Marina, CA, this weekend for a two day autocross. Come on down and play if you're in the area!