Thursday, May 28, 2020

Oil Analysis - 1 Year - Bumblestook

I mentioned when we did Bumblestook's oil change a few weeks ago that it'd been over a year since her last oil change. Including one track day and sitting around for most of the Winter, I was very curious what the oil analysis was going to look like so I sent it off to Blackstone labs to get tested. Well, Amsoil continues to work great, providing plenty of protection. At least from an oil perspective, the engine continues to stay nice and healthy ready to tackle NJMP next month.

Bumbelstook's oil analysis - 5-28-2020

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Pagid Yellow RS29 - Track Prep

Well it seems like more and more tracks are starting to re-open so it's time to get the Cayman ready in case I can find one that works with my schedule. Kay's pretty much sorted so the only thing she needed were track brake pads and fresh fluids since the last time we changed the oil was before Nationals last year (eek).

Getting ready for maintenance - 5-24-2020
SJF Performance
I wanted track pads that I could easy swap back and forth with the Porsche stock pads and from my research the only solution here are Pagid Yellows (RS29). I know what you're thinking it, but no, I didn't buy them because they were yellow.

New pads and oil - 5-24-2020
Pagid RS29
They work extremely well with very good initial bite but man they squeal harder than a pig in a slaughterhouse when low speed braking. We had a little trouble with the rears. These pads are pretty thick so you have to remove the brake pad damper or there's simply no room for the pads to go in. Once that was sorted, everything was nice and smooth.

Front pads in 
Rear pads in
Brake pad dampers that had to go
We also put in fresh Joe Gibbs Driven DT-40 just because the oil was too old coming up on a year in the car with just about 5000 miles. I'll likely put in Driven XP9 oil before an actual track day. Took her for a 200 mile drive and had no issues so I think she's good to go.

Maintenance Update:

Mileage: 41,067
- 8.5 quarts Driven DT-40 oil, NAPA gold oil filter
- Pagid RS-29 track brake pads all around

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Fixing the Broken Lock

Last week, one of the very common S2000 failures finally happened to me. The lock switch broke! There doesn't seem to be a rhyme or reason why and when these fail but the design is a bit flawed in that the plastic switch that engages the lock seems to get brittle and snap even if you just unlock it with your remote.

Broken Lock - 5-17-2020
Thankfully, this is an easy enough fix. I got a new replacement door release/lock from my friend Jon (as well as en extra one as future spare including one for the passenger side from @socal_s2000_parts  - Alan Lee). After you remove the panel it's 3 bolts, reconnect the hooks and you're done.

New door release/lock installed - 5-23-2020
Maintenance Update:

Mileage: 57,105
- New driver side door lock switch

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

South Bend Stage 2 Endurance Clutch + Fixed AC

When I bought the GTi, it already had an uprated RS7 (Sachs Performance) clutch kit which was overkill for the Stage 1 tune the previous owner put on the car but I did like the fact that he cared enough to put in some good stuff. Well that clutch was good for up to Stage 2 power but when I turned the wick up with the IS38 turbo and Stage 3 Tune well, let's just say it wasn't going to cut it anymore.

South Bend Stage 2 Endurance Clutch - 5-18-2020
I couldn't use the power. It simply wouldn't hold. Clutch slip was pretty bad if I really went into boost. The limit of the RS7 clutch is just around 400ft/lbs of torque which is roughly around with an IS38 with tune at full boost can generate at the flywheel. To give myself a little extra headroom while still having streetability, I dropped off the GTi when I picked up Scarlett last week so the Euro specialist team at Speedsport Tuning could install the clutch kit for me which includes everything (flywheel, throwout bearing, etc). This clutch is rated to 465 ft/lb so it should hold sufficiently but just in case I'm going to make sure to properly break it in before I give it a real test. The pedal feel with the new clutch setup is actually a really nice improvement. In fact, it's much lighter and more streetable than the RS7 clutch which required quite a bit of leg muscle. It's closer to what a stock clutch would feel. It's pretty cool South Bend was able to do that while having a stronger bite. There was a bit of clicking in the clutch pedal initially during engagement as it broke in but now it's perfectly quiet.

Dropping off the GTi - 5-15-2020
While they had the car, I had them look into why my AC suddenly wasn't working. It was definitely working last year so I figured maybe the AC compressor or relay failed. What they found was when the IS38 was installed with the Wagner intercooler, the bolt for the front bumper going into the hood latch release went too far and actually punctured the AC condenser because the condenser sits more forward now due to the thicker IC.

That looks close - 5-18-2020
Yea, that screw should not be going into the condenser - 5-18-2020
A new condenser, shorter screw, O-ring and more R143A refrigerant later and the AC is now fully functioning, ready to provide ice cold air for the hot summer months and beyond.

Maintenance Updates:

Mileage: 56,219
- New South Bend Stage 2 Endurance Clutch and Flywheel
- New OEM condenser and refrigerant refill

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Broken Lock and Regular Maintenance

I seem to be having a string of bad luck with my cars recently. Even the most reliable of my cars, Bumblestook, made her presence known by having the lock switch snap when I tried to unlock it via the remote this morning. This is a very common failure in S2000s and is an easy fix. I already picked up a replacement and a spare so I'll get this sorted when I get

Broken Lock Switch - 5/17/2020
I also finally changed the oil and diff fluid after realizing I hadn't since April of last year. I only did one track day and a bunch of miles but still, one year is more than I want oil to sit in a car.

Dirty oil - 5/17/2020

Fresh Oil - 5/17/2020

Maintenance Updates:
- 6 qt Amsoil 10W-30
- 1 qt 80W140 Redline diff fluid

Friday, May 15, 2020

911SC - Pick Up Day - The High and Lows

It's been a long time coming but today was finally pick up day for Scarlett. All the major mechanical work is done and it was time for me to rack up the miles to break in the engine and transmission and also surface any issues associated with a complete car rebuild. My wife and I drove up there in the GTi since that's getting some work done next but it's pretty funny seeing the two cars side by side. You can really see the scale of how small a 911SC is compared to a modern "small hot hatch".

Chili and Scarlett - 5-15-2020
Finally time to go out and drive - 5-15-2020
Starting Odometer Reading: 164,304 miles
Making sure to pick up my 911 at 9:11am
We couldn't have asked for a better day. It was 85 degrees Fahrenheit and sunny. My goal was to put the car through its paces by running through all the gears and the rev range (up to around 4.5-5K max since we're still breaking the engine in), run the AC (which turned out to still be ice cold) and just press every button, use every switch and just make sure everything was working as expected. More importantly, my goal was to rack up the miles and get this break-in period over with as quickly as possible. I also wanted to run through all the fuel, making sure the fuel gauge was working as expected. The car was running fantastically well and I was really enjoying every minute of it.

Scarlett - Photo by: Tomomi
My office for the day
Get out and drive!
Almost 200 miles into our drive and things were still going really well but it was time to start heading home. We took one final stop to stretch our legs and get some air.

Scarlett  - Photo by: Tomomi
As I reached the 222 mile mark, it was time to refuel so we pulled into a rest stop and all of a sudden the most perfect day went downhill fast. I got to the parking spot then the car stalled all of a sudden. I thought I just hadn't clutched in so I tried to start the car again but it wouldn't. Starter was cranking but the engine wouldn't turn over. As unfortunate as this situation was, this isn't my first rodeo and anytime you go this far into a build something can happen. I called up the shop and they quickly came to my rescue, first sending someone to hand me a loaner vehicle while their trailer arrived shortly after to take the car back to the shop (that's some VIP customer service right there).

We suspect right now it's a fueling issue. Perhaps the fuel pump is starting to fail or is clogged up because I let the fuel run all the way down below 1/4 tank. It's one critical piece that I failed to ask them to replace so it wouldn't shock me if it turned out to be that. There werer no leaks and as far as I could see, no mechanical failures were visible. I'm sure it'll be figured out fairly quickly either way. However, this incident did make me rethink my strategy for trying to get this car done by June including paint. Almost any shop I talk to is going to take up to 3-weeks to complete the body work and frankly that means 3 more weeks of not driving the car. That seems pretty silly especially since I should really focus my efforts on making sure the car is running without fault by just piling the miles on.

Fun while it lasted - Hawk's Nest - 5-15-2020

I actually had so much fun driving the car, even the patina stopped bothering me. It's kinda nice having a car that has a bunch of rock chips and faded paint already. You just don't care if a few more get added on. I think I'm going to wait at least until the end of Fall to attempt a paint job. In the meantime, when I get the car back, the ducktail is going off and the stock decklid back on so it'll look less cartoonish. I'll put the new wheels on though to make sure I don't have any clearance the tires mounted on them are newer and far better.

I know once we get the gremlins sorted out, this car will run as reliably as my S2000 for many more years and miles to come. I have zero regrets though, this car is the epitome of a pure driver's car and is a realization of something that brings real joy every time you get behind the wheel. It's quite awesome how each car in the current Steguis Motorsports fleet really offers a completely different driving experience from each other. There's no "better" or "worse", only "different" and at the end of the day, if you're going to have a bunch of different fun cars, that's what it's all about.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

911SC - Build Update #8 - First Drive

It's almost 6 months to the day since I bought Scarlett in South Carolina and she's finally done. Ok, I'm lying, there are a few really minor details to button up before I pick her up next week, but basically she's done. Today I took the day off so I could go take her out for a test drive so we can go over anything that might not be to my liking. This was quite a momentous occasion for me because i never even test drove the car when I bought it so today would truly be my "first drive". I also whipped out the camera because I wanted to commemorate this day before the next phase of her build...paint!

Scarlett - Speedsport Tuning - Danbury, CT - 5-7-2020
I know, she looks like every other 911, but she's mine, and under that somewhat tired exterior is basically a new car. The boys at Speedsport Tuning did a phenomenal job executing my vision. Yes I got the car with an already freshly rebuilt engine by Porsche but they had to deal with a fairly complex CIS to EFI conversion that was not smooth at all and spent hours tuning the car to make sure she runs perfectly. Heck, she starts up faster and easier from a cold start than any of my modern cars! The transmissions was completely rebuilt and improved upon and the shifts are amazing! People say the 915 transmission is no good and everyone needs to have a G50 but this rebuilt transmission is spot on, smooth and very engaging.

Scarlett - Speedsport Tuning - Danbury, CT - 5-7-2020
The engine runs and sounds terrific mated with SSI heat exchangers and Dansk sport muffler. It has just the right amount of grunt and ruckus without being annoying. Nothing compares the sound of an air-cooled flat-6. You hear absolutely everything and it just sings to you.

Scarlett - Speedsport Tuning - Danbury, CT - 5-7-2020
Scarlett - Speedsport Tuning - Danbury, CT - 5-7-2020
Scarlett - Speedsport Tuning - Danbury, CT - 5-7-2020
I really love how the interior worked out. It's not complete yet as I still have a number of things to install myself later but the Momo Prototipo Heritage wheel, the Momo Targa Heritage wooden shift knob, the custom red and rotated tach by North Hollywood Speedometer really add to the aggression factor. I love how the black Rennline aluminum pedals add a touch of modern without screaming for attention. Even the rollbar, which I waffled back and forth about doing, I think really gives the interior some "purpose". I was extra relieved that the new key I got cut by a local locksmith from a really worn out copy of one of the original keys actually worked.

Scarlett - Speedsport Tuning - Danbury, CT - 5-7-2020
Scarlett - Speedsport Tuning - Danbury, CT - 5-7-2020
Scarlett - Speedsport Tuning - Danbury, CT - 5-7-2020
Scarlett - Speedsport Tuning - Danbury, CT - 5-7-2020
As I mentioned in the previous update, the hood and decklid struts were replaced with Rennline mechanical struts and it no longer pushes up on the driver side of the decklid causing extra unevenness.

Scarlett - Speedsport Tuning - Danbury, CT - 5-7-2020
Scarlett - Speedsport Tuning - Danbury, CT - 5-7-2020
I'm extremely happy with how everything turned out. The car drives exactly as I hoped. The KW Classic dampers, new Turbo tie rods and refreshed suspension bushings really make the car ride like new with a distinctly German, firm, yet supple, attitude. Once these are matched to wider wheels and fresh tires, I think it's really going to wake up.

Scarlett - Speedsport Tuning - Danbury, CT - 5-7-2020
Scarlett - Speedsport Tuning - Danbury, CT - 5-7-2020
Scarlett - Speedsport Tuning - Danbury, CT - 5-7-2020
We're not at the end of the build yet but while a lot of people tend to always start with the cosmetics, those are always last on my list. The important thing is that the car is fully mechanically sorted and once I've finally broken in the engine, I know I can push her hard without a single bit of hesitation because I have confidence she'll do exactly what I want.

Scarlett - Speedsport Tuning - Danbury, CT - 5-7-2020
Finally, here's a little video of me taking her out for the first time. It's not terribly exciting. I was making sure not to rev the car out too hard as I'm still well within the engine break-in mileage but what a momentous day this was. She's definitely "Steguis" approved.

First Drive - '83 911 SC - Scarlett - 5-7-2020