Friday, July 3, 2020

Small Interior and Exterior Fixes

With hot and humid weather and heavy thunderstorms in the forecast I didn't want to take the cars out today but instead focused on getting some deferred mini projects out of the way.

Project Day at Steguis Motorsports - 7-3-2020
First up was treating the new GTS Classic Seats. I asked Stefan at GTS Classic what I should do to keep the plaid cloth on the seats in good shape. He recommended using some fabric guard. This stuff's pretty cool, once it cures it pretty much makes the cloth bead water. Hopefully it'll help keep it clean. You're not supposed to apply it on leather so I masked off all the leather then when I was done treating the clotch, I applied some leather cleaner on all the leather parts. Now I can let it cure properly for 24 hours before sitting in it.

303 Fabric Guard for the seats
Next up was to do something with the ruined clear coat on the front right fender and hood. I'm still planning on getting the car painted but I still have a few things I want to get done before doing so. In the meantime, I just didn't want it sticking out like a sore thumb because frankly it looks pretty horrible if you look at the car head on.

Clear coat damage on the front fender
Clear coat damage on the front fender
As you can see it looks like someone was sweating on a black T-shirt and had all that salty sweat leave a crusty white mark everywhere. I wanted the car to at least be decent 10 feet away so I tried this L'Oxide oxide Reducing Emulsion. I was skeptical but at this point, I had nothing to lose since these panels are already in bad shape. After one layer I was already pretty impressed with the results. Sure if you're close you can still see the roughness of the clear coat but it's definitely not as bad as it was before. I'll probably put another coat next week and that'll hold me over until I get the car painted later this year. This also has to cure over night so it'll be ready for when I take her out for a drive tomorrow.

L'Oxide oxide Reducing Emulsion
After the emulsion, not bad, especially in a photo lol
Another minor thing that was bothering me was the factory fuel filler protective flap. After 37 years it basically stiffened up and kept getting in the way when trying to add fuel. I got a new one and it's nice and flexible again. It's the little details that make all the difference when you actually use a car.

Old fuel filler protective flap
Even off the car it's stiff 
New fuel filler protective cap
That's more like it
Before I dropped the car off at the shop a month ago, I installed the Element Fire Extinguisher on the rollbar and use the Rennline seat mounted extinguisher on the Cayman instead. Well after seeing how nice it was on the Cayman, I decided I had to do the same on Scarlett. Plus, it seemed super 90s ricer to have the fire extinguisher so visible from the outside when parked.

Rennline EZ Adjust seat fire extinguisher mount
Clean install, easy to get to and mostly out of sight
I even got this super easy to install/remove cup holder. I normally don't eat or drink in my "nicer" cars but sometimes you just want to bring a bottle or something with you and it's nice to have some place to put it securely. This installs with a simple thumb screw and can go pretty much on either side of either seat. I'm going to try this location first and see if it gets in the way.

Emergency Cup Holder
Finally, I was trying to keep the original 1980's rear license plate frame but there's just too much "Porsche" going on. It clearly already says Porsche right above it so I don't need to plaster more "Porsche" on the car. Thankfully Porsche makes a more appropriate license plate frame because I whole-heartedly agree...Porsche, There is no substitute. The black frame looks appropriate too with all the black accents on the car.

There is no substitute
One thing I didn't photograph because I know some people will take offense is that I put a Broadway mirror over the factory rear view mirror. Something JDM had to find its way into this car eventually. Frankly I did it because the top of the rollbar actually blocks a good amount of my rear view with the factory mirror and the larger 240mm Broadway mirror let's me see under it better so it's really a safety thing. If someone has a more appropriate German equivalent, then let me know.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Oil Cooler

In the last installment of the 911 build, I was about to pick Scarlett up from the shop after the valve adjustment post engine break-in and the installation of the new seats but the debris in the oil filter had us revisiting the oil setup. Not wanting to risk contaminating the engine with debris, I opted to have the entire oil tank replaced with a brand new one. Since I wasn't sure if the oil lines were also disintegrating, I took the opportunity to upgrade the entire oil cooling system.

Elephant Racing Single Fender Cooler - 7-2-2020
Factory "trombone" setup
You get into a slippery slope sometimes when you decide to upgrade things but in the long run, this is the best choice. The factory setup is what's called a trombone cooler. It does nothing more than send oil to the front of the car, loop through a few times then goes all the way back to the tank. This works reasonably well especially if you stay in motion but if you get stuck in traffic on a very hot day and you have AC, you sit there nervously watching your oil temps creep up. The new oil cooler is a radiator "Carerra" style cooler with a fan that turns on if the oil temps get too high which helps cool the oil even when standing still.  The Elephant racing version is wide mouth which has a 3mm wider fitting that most typical oil coolers which actually increases the oil flow by 50%.

Finned oil lines
The kit also replacing all the hard oil lines with finned oil lines. This setup increases surface area and therefore increases heat dissipation 4x over the stock setup. It also features a valve where you can use air pressure to force oil through the oil cooler to have a more complete oil change. In the rear, I upgraded to high clearance oil lines that route the lines to the oil tank up into the wheel arch. This allows for a more aggressive tire and wheel setup if I choose to do so in the future.

High Clearance Oil Lines
The thermostat was also replaced with the Elephant Racing version which is far superior over stock. It features a pressure bypass that automatically loops the oil back into the oil tank should there be a clog in the oil cooler lines thereby preventing the engine from starving for oil.

New thermostat with high oil routing
Factory Thermostat with OEM oil routing 
The install wasn't without hiccups though. One thing I've learned the hard way throughout this build is that even though you might find a part that says it fits a wide range of generations of 911, small build differences/improvements over the years means that things are rarely bolt-on. They should probably come with a label "some fabrication required" instead. In this case, the location where the cooler wanted to be in had a bumper bracket and the factory horns in the way. This could be solved a few different ways but we opted to upgrade to 993 style horns which are more like your modern small "snail" shaped horns. This gave additional clearance but the fan it came with was simply too wide. With the car lowered, leaving the cooler where it was meant the tire would contact the stone guard so we wanted additional clearance. We went with a smaller SPAL fan which they bench tested and surprisingly pushed about 300% more air through the cooler.

Larger kit fan (left), Smaller SPAL fan (right)
I also noted from my previous test drives that I had a weird outage of my Speedometer and Odometer for about 40 miles then started working again. When both speedometer and odometer stop at the same time it usually means the speedometer impulse sensor is going so I had that replaced with a new one as well.
Finally out of the shop after a month - 7-2-2020
Speedsport Tuning - Danbury, CT
Of course, picking up the car should've been a simple process but as soon as I hopped in and tried to turn the AC on I noticed it wasn't blowing air nor was the compressor engaging. Ah the joys of classic cars! The guys at Speedsport Tuning were super helpful. It was the day before the long weekend and we were all just trying to get home. Instead, they spent a solid 2 hours going over electrical diagrams in the parking lot to figure out what happened. It turned out it was no one's fault. The relay that runs the circuit for all the AC stuff simply failed. Thankfully they had a spare so after a quick swap, I was back up and running and heading home.

Failed Ac relay in the "smuggler's box"
I'm just excited to get the car back. The engine runs so smoothly and I thoroughly enjoyed revving it all the way to redline all the way home. The gears are a little tall though so it's a bit surprising the speeds you get up to even at the top of 3rd. It's really not as slow as I thought it was. The new seats feel superb and my new, lower, seat height also means I can more easily see my gauges.

Maintenance Update:

Mileage: 165,144

- New oil tank and oil cooler
- New 993 horns
- Valve Adjustment
- 11 quarts of Driven DT-50 oil
- New Speedometer Impulse sensor

Monday, June 29, 2020

Weird Rev Limit Resolved

I reported in my recent trip to NJMP that I was experiencing weird rev limits as Bumblestook's oil temperature rose. Unfortunately, I left my tuning laptop at home so I couldn't fix it on track and it was frustrating to have the limiter kick it as low as 7000 rpms at times. I was convinced it was due to engine protection settings on the car due to oil temps but that turned out not to be the case.

Engine protection screen on my Haltech tune - 6-28-2020
According to that page if any of the following conditions are met, the car will go into limp mode and limit my revs to 3500rpms.

  • Coolant above 110C (230F) for at least 2.5 seconds
  • Oil temp above 135C (275F) for at least 2.5 seconds
  • Oil pressure below 172.4 kPa (25psi) with TPS at 25% and RPM above 2000
The last condition I already experienced when my oil pressure sender failed two weeks ago so it can't have been this because the car didn't go into limp mode. It simply had a lower rev limit. I looked at my track video and looked at what my Racepak dash was showing me. At the hottest the car was at 213F coolant and 248F oil so I was well within the engine protection values. 

I reached out to Jeff Evans and he told me to check my rev limit table since the Haltech rev limit can be configured to scale based on coolant temp and sure enough that's where the problem was. This is actually a really neat feature and gives you the ability to limit revs until the car is up to temp. 

Coolant based rev-limit (old values) - 6-28-2020
Similarly, it can be used to limit revs if the temps get too high. What was happening was that the car was going above 100C on the coolant temps due the high ambient temps that day and because the rev limiter was configured for 2000rpm at 120C, it was scaling down my rev limit as the coolant temps went up. This explains why the rev limit seemed variable. Since I've already configured other warning lights regarding oil and coolant temps. I changed the 120C value to the normal rev limit so I won't run into this issue again. I also took the opportunity to lower the rev limit at 60C to the stock limiter of 7900. Seemed like a reasonable thing to do until the engine gets to full operating temp. 

Coolant based rev-limit (new values) - 6-29-2020

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Remote Mounting of S2000 Oil Pressure Sender

People remote mount their aftermarket oil pressure sender on their S2000 all the time but oddly it's hard to find details on what they used and even fewer photos. Last week I replaced my failed oil pressure sender but I had to mount it directly onto the block like it was before since I ran out of time. After a successful track day at NJMP a few days ago, I figured it was time to tackle this to reduce the chances of the new sensor either failing due to vibration or maybe even snapping off.

AEM stainless 100PSI oil pressure sender remote mounted - 6-28-2020
Here are the details if you want to do it yourself assuming you're using an AEM oil pressure sender or similar sender that has 1/8" NPT threads (pretty much all aftermarket oil pressure senders use 1/8" NPT). I chose to use this Prosport Remote Oil Sender Install Kit from Tatis Motorsports. The kit is technically designed for a WRX but the kit includes two  pieces you'll use; 24" of braided stainless hose that's 1/8" NPT on both ends and a 90 degree female NPT to female NPT adapter. It also includes a rubber cushioned  mounting bracket but that's for 1.5" diameter senders. The AEM is about 1" is you can either go buy one that 1" of those or just zip tie it into place somewhere like I did. 

Prosport Remote Oil Sender Install Kit - 6-28-2020
You'll also need a 1/8" female NPT to 1/8" male BSPT adapter since the hole in the block is 1/8" BSPT. I applied some hondabond to the thread then snugged the NPT to BSPT adapter together. You don't want to over tighten this.

1/8" NPT to 1/8" BSPT adapter connect to one end of hose
You'll do the same thing on the other end this time connecting the 90 degree female NPT to female NPT adapter included in the kit. Snug up one side to the braided hose and the other side to the oil pressure sender itself. Again, you want this snug. Don't over tighten. 

AEM oil pressure sender attached to other end of hose.
Finally, apply a bit of hondabond onto the threads of the 1/8" NPT to 1/8" BSPT adapter and thread it by hand into the block. Make sure to snug it up. Don't go crazy tightening this or you can and will crack the block then you'll have a really bad day. Let the hondabond cure for 24 hours before starting the car and verify there are no leaks. If any of the connections leak, chances are you probably just need to tighten just a little bit more. It's really that simple. 24 inches of braided hose is enough to locate your sender wherever you need. Ideally you'll want to move it away from the header if possible to reduce its exposure to excess heat. I guess a lot of people just zip tie it to the cross bar on the frame. I left mine roughly where it was before since I didn't have a lot of slack in the wire going back to my ECU to play with. 

Friday, June 26, 2020

NJMP Thunderbolt - First Track Day of 2020

After spending the first part of the year mostly just randomly driving around to get my driving fix, it felt great to finally be at the track again with S2K Takeover. This time we were at NJ Motorsports Park's Thunderbolt track. I've been to NJMP several times before on the Lightning track but after seeing videos of Thunderbolt, I was definitely excited to give this a go. This was a joint event between S2K Takeover and the NEDC.

Parked for the evening - NJMP Thunderbolt - 6-24-2020
I arrived Wednesday evening just before sunset, got my tech inspection out of the way then settled into my room in the suites right by the front straight.

Enjoying the sunset - 6-24-2020
I was pretty excited to get on track so I got up nice and early at sunrise and started getting ready for the first session. I have to admit, after having done no real performance driving since September 2019, 9 months ago, it took me about two sessions just to get comfortable again. Unfortunately, due to the heat, I was starting to run into some issues with the car. Nothing was mechanically wrong it but when I got the car tuned a few years ago, engine protection was put in when oil reaches 248F limiting me to just 7000 rpms, a whole 1600 rpms shy of my true redline. Of course, the oil I use would've easily handled higher temps but I left my laptop at home so I couldn't change the tune to raise the limit. I normally don't do track days during the summer so I never ran into this issue before.

Lunch time photoshoot - 6-25-2020
Photo by: David Phimsipason
After lunch, all (ok, most) of the car went on track for a big video/photoshoot. Normally I'd probably say this was a waste of time but we had more than enough track time scheduled so having a little break to digest while taking a photo op wasn't such a terrible idea.

NJMP Thunderbolt - 6-25-2020
Overall, it was a pretty fun day. I'm excited to go back without the engine protection capping my power. I also see plenty of time I left on the table after reviewing my video so I really want to get my lap time to a more respectable level. For now, I'm just glad to be back on track, have a giant smile on my face, and get the car home in the same shape it left. 

Bumblestook @ NJMP Thunderbolt - NYST - 6-25-2020 - 1:39:4

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Oil Pressure Scare

Last weekend was pretty gorgeous weather so naturally, I was excited to Bumblestook out for a top off cruise. Well, that turned out short-lived because right as I was flooring it to merge onto the highway the car immediately went into limp mode. I quickly pulled over to look under the hood and didn't see anything wrong. Nothing looked broken and I had no fluid under the car.

New oil pressure sender in - 6-18-2020
I started the car back up and it sounded fine so I eased it to the next exit where I was able to pull over in a safer area and go over the car again. I pulled the dipstick and oil was exactly where it was when we changed the oil a few weeks ago. I started the car up again and realize that the oil pressure was showing 0.09 psi. That's definitely not right. I gingerly drove the car back to the garage because the car still sounded normal and drove fine as long as I didn't try to get into VTEC. My tune is configured with protection to immediately go into limp mode if there isn't enough oil pressure read by the sensor. I didn't see the temperatures rise and if I didn't have a Haltech dash showing all my readings I would've been none the wiser. Admitted this was probably no the smartest thing to do but I know the car well and if it had sounded or felt off even the slightest bit I would've pulled over.

No oil pressure - 6-13-2020
I suspected the AEM oil pressure sender failed somehow or maybe the wires got frayed. I was only two miles from my garage so I let it sit while we took the Cayman out instead but later in the afternoon I came back checked again. Still no pressure so I started the process of removing the PasswordJDM intake so I could get to the oil pressure sender which is plugged into where the factory oil dummy switch is located just above the oil filter. There was no physical damage to the sensor itself or the wires. There was nothing else I could really do so I ordered a new AEM oil pressure sender from and it arrived just a few days later.

New AEM 30-2130-100 100PSI oil sender - 6-16-2020
I swapped in the new sensor today and was extremely relieved to see a pressure reading 85 PSI again at cold idle confirming my suspicion that the old sensor had just failed. I put a tiny bit of hondabond on the threads to help seal it properly so I'll need to leave it for 24 hours to let it fully dry. Also, it's important to note that the AEM oil pressure sender uses 1/8 NPT threads but block is 1/8 BSPT so you need a 1/8 female NPT to 1/8 male BSPT adapter to ensure proper fitment.

New oil pressure sender with 1/8 NPT to 1/8 BSPT adapter - 6-21-2020
Oil pressure reading is back to normal - 6-19-2020
I'll need to test the car this weekend to make sure there are no leaks after letting it run longer since we're going to be at NJMP in a week for the first track day of the season and the last thing I want are oil leaks that closer to the header.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

GTS Classic GranTurismo Seats + Oil Debris

The great news is that my custom GTS Classic GranTurismo seats in brown leather and plaid Thompson camel centers arrived and are now installed in the car. The roll bar limits rear travel a bit so you can't slide all the way back which is fine since my seating position is actually perfect for where the seats are now and I really don't care if taller people can't fit in my car. That's not my problem. Go buy your own car.

GTS Classic GranTurismo Seats - 6-11-2020
The headrests didn't install as smoothly as you'd hoped. They had to take off a few inches from the metal stem and smooth out the adjustment notches to make it move properly but other than that, no real issues. Really love how it looks inside the car. For reference here's how the interior used to look. Needless to say the new look is more up to par with the standards I place on my cars. It's a nice snug fit and the bolstering is perfect. It definitely completes the interior.

Old look with torn stock seats - 6-6-2020
Valve adjustment is done. They didn't need to be adjusted much which is a good sign that the engine is wearing well. Leakdown and compression test was done earlier and the engine is nice and strong. As part of the oil change after break-in, they tear open the oil filter to inspect for anything inside and it wasn't as clean as we'd like especially considering this I just changed the oil 500 miles ago and put in a new filter.

Some black particles in the oil filter
The conclusion is that this is debris coming from the oil tank. We suspect the previous owner let the car sit for long periods of time with the oil just sitting in there allowing moisture to accumulate and rust to build up top. Now that I'm actually driving the car and changing the oil, the agitation is loosening those particles. The oil filter will take care of this but this is not acceptable to me so the car is staying at the shop a bit longer and a brand new oil tank is going in. After all this work, allowing sludgy/rusty oil to contaminate the engine from the oil tank would be a stupid thing to do.