Sunday, June 25, 2017

Fixing alignment

I finally got a chance to go to SJF Performance after installing my Alcantara wrapped OEM steering wheel last month. Despite several attempts I never was able to get the wheel perfectly centered so I wanted an alignment to re-center it. I also wanted to see if something had slipped in the alignment causing the strange oversteering issues at the last event.

Up on the alignment rack - SJF Performance- 6/25/2017
Turns out that the rear toe seems to have slipped and I had a bit of toe out in the driver side rear. The camber hadn't changed much though which is good. I suspect I can thank NYC streets for the slippage. SJF quickly put it back to what I wanted but this time I opted to try a bit of toe out up front to help with turn in. Nothing big, but something similar to what we did with Bumblestook earlier in the week.

Alignment complete - SJF Performance - 6/25/2017
The new alignment numbers are:

-3.3 camber
5.5 caster
0.02in total toe out

-2.3 camber
0.12in total toe in (1/8")

I then took her for a nice drive through some twisty roads in Northern NJ and she felt amazing again. Hopefully I'll get to take her to an autox soon despite our limited schedule.

Sunrise Mountain Overlook - 6/25/2017

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Toda Power and Licking Wounds

The Toledo ProSolo is always rough on cars. Combine incredible grip with intense heat and you've got yourself a potential recipe for disaster but thankfully Bumblestook held together to take the win last week. However it was not without issue. I had trailer wiring issues and had no trailer brakes most of the way there and back and Bumblestook's handling felt a bit inconsistent so it was time to get her back on the lift to give her a good post big event maintenance at SJF Performance.

Toda header installed - SJF Performance - 6/20/2017
First though, her win gave Bumblestook dibs on the new Jet Hot ceramic coated Toda Torquie-Kun Header. While I purchased this header for Lupa, it made more sense to put her in Bumblestook where I can hopefully use it to get even more usable midrange torque as well as keep the engine bay a bit cooler.

New header gaskets - SJF Performance - 6/20/2017
New header gaskets - SJF Performance - 6/20/2017
Installation was pretty smooth. The runners go out a bit further than the PLM header so we had to insert the header from the engine bay but fitment was excellent. Of course, new gaskets were put in for a proper seal.

Toda header installed - SJF Performance - 6/20/2017
SJF then flushed the diff fluid. The Toledo ProSolo was only the second event on the new ATS Spec III Type DD diff so it's just basically broken in but the diff fluid coming out was extra dirty. Hopefully it's just break-in carbon from the clutch plates but the diff itself seems to be having well and I'm not hearing of feeling anything unusual so I'm not too concerned. Once all that was sorted, she was put onto the alignment rack. The alignment had definitely shifted quite a bit and after talking to SJF, we decided to try a pretty different and perhaps more aggressive alignment this time around just to see how it would change things. We went with much more camber up front and a hair of toe out for slightly faster turn in. In the rear, we reduced the camber a smidge but still kept the 1/16" total toe in for stability.

Got Camber?  - SJF Performance - 6/20/2017
The new alignments specs are:

-3.7 camber
5.4 caster
0.04in total toe out

-2.3 camber
0.06in total toe in

When we went to reset my sway bars back to meadowlands settings SJF noticed that the nut on my front sway bar was missing. The bar was definitely connected on Saturday in Toledo so somehow between Saturday and Sunday of the event the nut vibrated loose. The funny thing is I was struggling with understeer up until then so it's almost like Bumblestook just fixed herself for me by disconnecting her own sway bar haha. We reconnected it and dialed the front bar down from 5/6 to 3/6 and set the rear bar back to full soft from 5/7.

Added exhaust hanger - SJF Performance - 6/20/2017
I'm not sure if it's the new header or the fact that some stuff shifted but the exhaust tip was touching the rear bumper. To move it back into position, SJF welded an additional hanger onto the exhaust to pull it back towards the driver side so now there's no more play left and right. That was it for all the Bumblestook upgrades and fixes. The final thing to fix was the wiring/overload issues with the trailer. I suspected the issue was related to the trailer connector so that was replaced with a beefier heavy duty one and so far the trailer seems to be operating correctly again.

Trailer plug replaced - SJF Performance - 6/20/2017
We don't have any events until the end of July so Bumblestook will be off to Evans Tuning next month to get a quick retune for the new header to make sure she's 100% when we go to Nationals.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

BSP Win at Toledo ProSolo 2017

With only one day of testing this season, it was time for Bumblestook to go to her first big event this year, the Toledo ProSolo. The Poconos event a few week ago was a good test to make sure she was generally working well but I didn't really get a chance to do any suspension tuning so it was unclear how she'd behave on the high grip concrete at Toledo. Before leaving, I swung by SJF Performance to drain out all the pump gas so I could switch to E85.

Some last minute work at SJF Performance - 6/8/2017
My plan was to just run pump gas in Toledo since I didn't have time to get any C85 (my preferred E85 blend) but thankfully Billy told me about a Speedway in Waterville, OH just 15 minutes from the hotel that had E85 at the pump. Unfortunately with pump E85 the ethanol content can vary from 70% all the way to 90% but having a Flex Fuel sensor on the car, the tune can compensate for any amount of ethanol so I took the chance. Turns out this particular station had the same ethanol percentage as C85 and she seemed to run ok so I was happy with that.

Filling up on corn juice - Watterville, OH - 6/8/2017
The next day I arrived on site early to get a good spot in paddock and it started pouring. This is pretty typical of Toledo but I'd rather it rain all day on a Friday than during the competition days in the weekend. Since I had no baseline to go against I just did what I always do when I get on concrete which is to up the rear swaybar setting going from full soft to 5/7 on the new Karcepts rear bar.  I used to go full stiff with the Ankeny rear bar but the Karcepts bar can go stiffer than the Ankeny bar so I didn't want to max it out just yet. It eventually stopped raining and we got to do practice starts in the dry which she was able to get done with no problems. Unfortunately Kirk's BSP 240Z destroyed a drive shaft u-joint and sheered the transmission output shaft during their practice starts so to keep class numbers, I took on Kirk as a codriver and Lee took on Mike.

Arrived on site - Toledo ProSolo - 6/9/2017
Saturday morning rolled in and it was time for the first set of competition runs. It did not go well. She was extremely pushy everywhere. It didn't matter if it was under braking, under power or just transitioning. Bumblestook did not drive like an S2000 and I was a bit worried. I needed to make some big shock changes to get her front end to bite better. The Moton tripples have 5 settings for low speed compression and it was set to full stiff in the front. I decided to dial it back 2 clicks and that transformed her completely for the afternoon runs. She started to drive as expected and I was able to regain confidence to push her a bit harder. She was rotating nicely under power with just enough slip angle to slide the rear around but it would still set and the diff could put the power down as needed.

Ready for morning runs - Toledo ProSolo - 6/10/2017
Unfortunately I was still having difficulty getting my timing right and was hitting cones in most of my runs so I found myself at the end of day 1 in 2nd sitting 0.7 seconds back from Lee. I reviewed the video and data of the runs overnight and knew that if I could just stay off the cones I could pick up some time in other sections now that I was more willing to chuck her into a corner and let her stick. I also felt that the front didn't have enough rebound so I added a click of rebound to control the front a bit more.

In grid for day 2 - Toledo ProSolo - 6/11/2017
I needed a good left side run and thankfully being 2nd I was starting off day 2 on the right so I took the first run as a recon run and get the tires and brakes heated up. When I got to the left side I was able to finally get in a clean run by being a bit safe and taking slightly wider lines and still finding 0.8 seconds to take the lead by about 0.1. I went back to the right side and put in a much faster run now that I was in the lead and tried to find her limits more. I was able to find another 0.7 seconds but coned the slalom so no improvement there. Back to my final run on the left, I pushed a little harder but the tires were starting to feel a little greasy and she was sliding a little more. I still managed to find some more time and seal the win with a 0.3 second lead.

Toledo ProSolo - Left Side

Toledo ProSolo - Right Side

I definitely lost some time in the launches. There was so much grip with the concrete and Hoosiers that even launching at 8800rpm I was bogging hard. Not having torque was not helping me here. I think she definitely had a lot more pace out there. I need to work on finding out how much space I need to give to clear the cones especially on right hand turns. The cone troubles are going to bite me hard at nationals if I don't figure it out. The Toda Racing Torquie-Kun header that I had ceramic coated for Lupa will have to be given up to Bumblestook I think as she has a greater need for a better mid-range torque curve so I'll have to find time to get her back on the Dyno. That will probably be the final change for the season.

Toledo ProSolo 2017 - 6/11/2017
I'm really happy with the changes for this year and it was great that I now have a working concrete setup for her. She didn't break and helped me secure the win defending her win at Toledo from last year. Going racing on my birthday was a treat. Winning was icing on the cake. We've got a little more work to do but good job Bumblestook!

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Fun sliding around

I was planning on taking Bumblestook out to today's NNJR SCCA/PCA joint autocross at the Meadowlands but the potentially bad weather forecast made me less inclined to get up at 4:30am just to deal with trailering in the rain so I took Lupa instead. The morning turned out to be great weather and we got to run first heat so all our runs were in the dry.

NNJR SCCA/PCA Joint Autocross - 6/4/2017
For some odd reason, the setup I ran quite well in Warminster was undrivable today. Lupa felt extremely loose and not very confidence inspiring. I lowered rear compression a click and front rebound a click to help soften her up as well as run a 3psi difference from to rear (I usually just run 2psi) and that helped tame her a little but it was still hard to get on the throttle early without the rear kicking out. Her new header is arriving soon so I'll get her alignment checked after we install it since the steering wheel is also a bit crooked after replacing it a few week ago.

NNJR SCCA/PCA Autocross - 6/4/2017

I also got to try the new mount for Solostorm and was happy that it worked well and didn't get in the way of my field of vision. It's basically the same mount I run on Bumblestook but with a suction cup instead of being bolted onto the body. I also figured out what was going on with the shift beeper I installed yesterday. Turns out one of the spade connectors I received wasn't crimped properly. I redid the wiring and voila, nice loud beeps again as we approach redline...such a comforting sound.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Shift Beeper and eBrake cover

To match the rest of the little interior mods I've been doing recently, I also picked up an ebrake cover made with perforated leather with red stitching from I think that completes the "show" mods for the car.

Redlinegoods ebrake cover - 6/3/2017

I also attempted to install the Modifry shift beeper but it doesn't seem to work. I suspect I got one of the wires wrong. I'll troubleshoot it some other time.

SoS Hood Dampers

No big update today other than finally installing the Science of Speed hood dampers that I got over the winter but have been too lazy to install. These are replacing my rusting PasswordJDM ones that don't open nearly as much

Science of Speed Hood Dampers - 6/3/2017
Less than a week before we head out to Toledo. I've decided we're not going to run her at the NNJR event tomorrow for testing since I don't want to risk having any issues this soon to a big event.