Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Raising Ride Height and Re-alignment

The springs on the GTi settled a bit more than I wanted and it sat low enough that I kept hitting the fender liner on random bumps and dips in the road. I opted to raise the car about 3/8" all around and realign it at SJF. It's much better now but I still get a bit of rub if I hit a really big dip in the road. Nothing to be really concerned about.

Ride height increased - 9-20-2020
New alignment - 9-20-2020

It was also fortunate that I was there since we noticed there was a nail in my right rear tire but was thankfully barely leaking any air. We got it plugged for now while I want for a the new tire to arrive.

Nail in the right rear tire

Saturday, September 19, 2020

New Accelerator Pedal

I received my new Rennline Rev2 fully adjustable accelerator pedal so I wanted to get that installed today but before I got dirty from messing around in the footwell, I went ahead and installed a few interior pieces that also came in. First up was the Scarlett badge in Magneto font in a brushed finish by Kyle at Rebadge.com. It took almost a month to get it but it was worth the wait. Fits perfectly on the glove box door for a nice little personal detail.

Custom "Scarlett" Badge - 9-19-2020

Unfortunately, air-cooled 911s don't have any adjustment in the steering wheel position and the steering wheel was just a little bit further away from me than I would typically prefer. I found out that Momo made a 15mm spacer that included longer bolts. It surprisingly makes quite a difference as my arms are at a better angle so I feel I have better leverage on the wheel and as a result, better control. It also moves my fingers away from the dash further so there's less chance of hitting the indicator or wiper stalks when I'm turning.

Momo 15mm Steering Wheel Spacer

Momo 15mm Steering Wheel Spacer Installed

Momo 15mm Steering Wheel Spacer Installed

The factory accelerator pedal is removed by simply taking out the two 10mm bolts at its base and disconnecting it from the rod ball end. I had assembled the new pedal at home taking a rough guess at where I'd want the pedal to sit. There are so many levels of adjustment you can go nuts tweaking it to your preferences. The main thing I was after with this pedal is that the throttle rod is bolted into place rather than just being popped into a hole using friction. I can also raise the pedal more to make heel-toe easier. 

Removing the two 10mm bolts at the base of the factory pedal

Rennline Rev2 Fully Adjustable Pedal (left) vs
Factory plastic pedal with Rennaline aluminum cover (right)

New pedal attached to rod end

I got lucky that once I installed it, the position was pretty much spot on right from the start. I may make some minor adjustments in the future but it feels pretty good where it is now. One thing I noticed driving the car around after installation was that the added weight made it require a bit less effort to actuate the throttle. This made my throttle movements smoother. It even made rev-matching easier. I would definitely recommend this setup for anyone that wants a very reliable high-quality adjustable accelerator pedal setup on their 911. 

New Rennline Adjustable Throttle Pedal Installed

Sunday, September 13, 2020

New Bellows, Seals and License Plate Lights

When I took the tail light lenses off to install the new LED exterior bulbs, I noticed that the rubber seals to keep water out was falling apart. I guess none of the previous owners in the past 37 years thought it might be a good idea to replace the rubber. I also noticed that in the passenger side tail light housing, the rubber drain tube was completely missing. I picked up some new seals to replace both sides as well as a new rubber drain tube and put them in.

Old word out tail light seals - 9-13-2020
Old seals removed
New drain tube
New tail light seal installed
While I was doing this, SJF was replacing all the bellows all around. There was nothing wrong with them cosmetically from the outside but at least two bellows had nuts that were seized so they couldn't be removed without destroying them to some extent. It took me almost 2 months to get replacements and I didn't want the body shop to have to struggle with this so I wanted to get this done ahead of time. I also wanted to ensure that the new bellows fit the way I wanted since I opted to get good quality reproduction ones rather than the original Porsche parts. Fitment was about 9.5/10 but good enough and for something that's just basically rubber non-structural pieces, it didn't make sense to go spend money extra on the originals.

Front bellow removed
New front bellow installed
When we replaced the rear bellows, I also bought better condition used bumper side panels. The original ones on the car looked pretty beat up and I wanted the body shop to start with a better panel when it goes in for repaint.

Rear side panel and bellow removed

New bellow and cleaner rear side panel trimmed for exhaust
clearance and installed
Right rear side panel and bellow installed
Finally, I needed a way to illuminate the rear license plate after removing the bumperettes. I bought two potential options. The first was a pair of black Hella license plate lights that would sit on either side of the plate. The second was an LED illuminated license plate frame. I opted to not use the Hella lights because they stuck out a bit too far. Since the car is driven day time 95% of the time, it didn't make much sense to have ugly black bumps stick out from the now clean bumper even when they weren't in use. The Radiantz LED license plate frame I got is nice and stealthy. When not in use it looks just like any normal black license plate frame but when I turn on my lights, it illuminates the plate from the top with just the right amount of light.

Radiantz LED license plate frame
Waterproof LEDs lining the top part of the frame
To install it, a small hole had to be drilled just behind the plate to allow the wiring to get through. Due to the placement of the wire, a notch in the license plate was also needed. The next part was to avoid getting the wire too hot from being in proximity to the muffler. SJF wrapped the wires in heat reflective tape and ran it above the bumper on the inside with metal zip ties.

New hole in the bumper to pass the wire through.
Wires wrapped in heat reflective tape and routed above the bumper
and connected to factory license plate light wiring.
License plate lights turned on. The color is white even though it
looks blue in the photo.

Sunday, September 6, 2020

First Autocross for Scarlett - Throttle Problems

You can argue track versus autocross until you're blue in the face but the reality is that there's nothing like an autocross to safely explore the limits of your car. With so many direction changes in such a short time and a variety of surface conditions (undulations, bumps, etc), you can really put your car and your driving through its paces. Needless to say, I felt that the best way for me to understand how the 911SC feels at the limit and to make sure everything is good before going in for paint would be to take her to an autocross, and today was the perfect day for it.

NNJR SCCA Autocross - 9-6-2020
My main goal was to find out if I have any clearance issues. I had previously hit the fender pretty badly with my front right tire due to low ride height and I wasn't completely sure if the slight roll we did a few weeks ago would be enough. My second goal was to get a feel for the dynamics of the car under threshold braking and in quick transitions. On my first run, I took it a little easy, trying to pay attention to everything I was hearing and feeling in the car. Although the run was slow I was relieved to find no issues with tire clearance. I was also surprised at how fairly well balanced she was. It wasn't nearly as tail-happy under braking or when lifting throttle as I was expecting and the diff was working well to put the power down with the limiting factor being the tires.

NNJR SCCA Autocross - 9-6-2020

On my next run, I was feeling more confident to really attack the corners and was finding better pace but in the final 180 towards the finish, I suddenly lost all throttle. It didn't seem like an engine issue, just that the pedal wasn't doing anything. I figured a throttle linkage came loose and after getting back in grid, sure enough, the accelerator rod ball end had popped out of the pedal. Seemed like an easy enough fix to just pop it back in. On my next run it happened again after a bump. It seems that the socket on the plastic accelerator pedal had worn to the point of not being snug enough to hold the ball in under more extreme conditions.

Accelerator rod ball end disconnected from the pedal
Socket on the pedal is a bit loose
A quick search of the issue indicated that this is common and the accelerator pedal is considered a wear item on raced 911s and people replace it every other year...yikes! Considering this is the original pedal from 37 years ago, I guess it makes sense that it eventually failed. For street driving, this probably would've just stayed in there forever but when pushed harder, it simply wouldn't hold up. I've since purchased something to fix this correctly rather than just replace it with another pedal with the exact same design Achilles heel. It blows my mind that such an important part of the car just relies on the friction of a metal ball inside a plastic socket to hold it all together.

This issue aside, I was really enjoying driving her. On the upside, this issue is pretty minor and the car otherwise was working really well. I think I'm going to change out the torsion bars to improve rotation a little and reduce the body roll a little. She's certainly not as fast as my other cars but it felt quite rewarding to gain that confidence to push this car in the corners in the few runs I got before I called it quits.

Setup Notes:

Dampers: middle all around
Front pressures: 32psi
Rear pressures: 35psi

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Fender Roll

Now that the GTi is on the softer KW Comfort Sport suspension, I noticed the front tires were rubbing slightly on the front fender. I had already previously lifted up the fender liner tab to clear the 245s on the 18x8.5 +45 wheels but this time I figured I might as well get the whole fender rolled to avoid any further issues.

Front fender rolling - 9-2-2020
I went to see Dan and got the fender rolled pretty quickly. This has definitely reduced the amount of rubbing but it still does on big dips in the road. I suspect between the softer valving and low ride height, I'm actually hitting the fender liner now. I may have to raise the car a little or stiffen the front dampers to avoid this.

Front fenders rolled nicely
Ah the joys of modified cars!

Monday, August 31, 2020

More LEDs, Gauge Overlays and other fiddly bits

Since I took the week off, I figured it'd be a good time to get on with the minor modifications I've been procrastinating on. First up was the 3.0 badge I had JimmyT on the Pelican boards make for me. I've been having a thing recently for low key badges that are only visible when you look really closely so I had it coated matte black to be mostly invisible. It'll probably have to be modified in the future since it doesn't sit flush but I wanted to install it before it got lost in the garage somewhere. It was designed to sit inside the slats of the OEM grille so it sits a little high but overall I like how it looks.

3.0 Badge
Next I removed the oil temp/pressure gauge so I could install new overlays that allow me to actually read out the oil temp in Fahrenheit and the pressure in PSI. Unfortunately, I got sent two temperature overlays instead so for now I only installed temperature one. It wasn't too bad but I took a ton of pictures to remember which wires go where since the entire gauge had to pulled out of the car. The overlay method is really nice because it literally just sits on top of the factory oil gauge face once you pull the mechanism out. The alternative is to get a backdate gauge but that also requires a new backdated oil temp sender to be installed. This is far easier and looks just as good. New Vintage USA makes 3 different temperature ranges based on how your stock gauge looks like. Since mine has a "big red" bar on top, I needed the "Style C" overlay face to ensure that the numbers are correct. 

Disconnecting the oi temp/pressure gauge
Stock gauge indicators are a bit vague
New Gauge Overlay from New Vintage USA
Just need to unscrew each gauge and screw the new face on
The engineer in me loves seeing numbers
Fascinatingly enough, now that I see the numbers, that means that in the summer with the AC on, idling in traffic, before I got my new oil cooler setup, I was seeing oil temps as high as 260F yikes. The final thing I wanted to get done today was changing out all the exterior bulbs to LED. Changing bulbs shouldn't really be difficult and frankly it isn't but for this car if you change the exterior turn signal bulbs to LEDs, you need to replace the gauge bulbs with LEDs, redo some wiring and put in a new flasher relay. The flasher relay was supposed to be the easy part especially since I already had the oil temp gauge out of the way but it's also accessible from the frunk. Unfortunately when I went to find it, it was missing.

Um...where's the flasher relay?
It was supposed to be where that little hole right in the middle of the picture above is. I turned my signals on and they were working and I could even hear the relay but I couldn't see it anywhere. Initially I thought that maybe in 83 they relocated it elsewhere so I spent the better part of an hour trying to find pictures. Everything I read said it was supposed to be right there. Finally after reaching behind all the wires and air ducting, I found it. I guess at some point, this relay was replaced but they pulled the little socket from the body and got lazy to re-attach it (to be fair I was lazy to do it too) and just tucked it in there out of the way.

Eureka...found the old relay and installed the one
Now I could proceed to replace the signal bulbs inside the gauge, disconnecting the blue/white signal wires replacing it with the new harness (blue wires).

New gauge turn signal bulbs
New signal bulb wiring harness installed
It was all downhill from there. I just had to go swap out all the exterior bulbs which were nicely labeled by Carmagic. I love how easy it is to swap the exterior bulbs. You just need to unscrew the lenses and they're right there.

New front bulbs
New LED front bulbs installed
New LED rear bulbs installed
New LED rear bulbs installed
I got the polarity right on all the bulbs except for one of the gauge signal bulbs but quickly flipping it over solved that. It was a worthwhile upgrade despite taking far longer than it should have. The lights are much brighter and use far less power. The reverse lights are so bright, it's like having headings on the back of your car.

So bright, so good
I can back up when it's pitch black out now
Overall that was a pretty productive morning. I didn't want to waste the whole day fiddling around with the cars in the garage so I spent a good part of the afternoon taking her out for a nice little drive which is always fun any day of the week. 

Sunday, August 30, 2020

First Autocross in 2020

I can't believe that it's almost been a full year since the last time I autocrossed. Needless to say, I was pretty excited. Becca was there with her 350Z so it gave me some incentive to at least try to drive a little harder.

NNJR SCCA Autocross - 8-30-2020
My early runs were a mess. The car was understeering everywhere and my timing was so off I just kept hitting cones. I was able to clean up my runs but the car still wouldn't rotate easily. After softening the front compression and reducing rear rebound to let the rear work better, it finally started to feel better. I was still trailing a few hundredths of a second going into our final runs but the changes I'd made to the suspension allowed me to attack the course a little harder. I finally broke through and found a tenth of a second to take the lead.

STU Final Results
Looking at the video, it's a horrible mess. I had so much daylight between the car and the cones. The lines were mediocre at best and frankly, if Becca was fully prepped I would've been destroyed. Overall though I enjoyed the fun little battle we had and was just glad to be out there and see everyone again after so many months.

NNJR SCCA Autocross - 8-30-2020

Setup Notes:

Compression: 4
Rebound: 11
Pressure: 30psi

Compression: 9
Rebound: 7
Pressure: 32psi