Saturday, March 24, 2018

Battle Ready for 2018

While Bumblestook has been my primary focus of attention over the winter, let's not forget which car got promoted to primary race car for the 2018 season. Hopefully the last snowfall of the season is behind us so I went off to see SJF today to do a bit of pre-season prep on Lupa.

Pre-season Prep - SJF Performance - 3-24-2018
The first thing I wanted to get done after we figured it out on Bumblestook was to replace the Buddy Club Super Lowdown rails with OEM rails SJF modified to fit the Recaro Pole Position seat. This improves safety as the I've never been fond of the relatively cheap build quality of the BC rails and it provides a much smoother (well it is OEM after all) sliding action. The seating position is perfect and there's absolutely no play or flex in the mount. It's not the cheapest thing to do but a great alternative if you run wider seats that don't fit the Mugen rails (my absolute first choice in seat rails). SJF and I were both confused when I got the rails because on Bumblestook the adjustment handle is on the right but apparently the 06+ S2000s have the handle on the left side on the driver seat. I picked up these 06 rails because someone just happened to be selling them and the driver side rails fit 00-09 S2000s but that's an interesting little detail I didn't know before.

Modified 2006 S2000 OEM rails - 3-24-2018
Modified 2006 S2000 OEM rails - 3-24-2018
Also, it seems that I completely forgot to change any of the fluids last year. I had changed it at the end of the 2016 season but between not being able to make many events last year and being focused on getting Bumblestook ready for Nationals, it had completely escaped my mind. No real harm though. I don't think she even did 3000 miles last year. Engine, transmission and diff fluid was all flushed. She's back to feeling super smooth again.

Fluid changes - 3-24-2018
Finally to cap off the day, she's finally back on the Advans but this year they're wrapped in BFG Rival S 1.5s that were previously on Rad's car. Tire shine courtesy of his detailer last year smh. I'm going to have to take it easy at the first event unless I want a close encounter with a solid object.

Back on competition wheels and tires
Advan RSII with BFG Rival S 1.5
She's going to have to wait a few weeks before her first outing though but at least she'll be ready for action because April is looking like back to back to back to back race weekends. STR may have fully swung over to favor the ND Miatas but Lupa has unfinished business and I don't like unfinished business.

Monday, March 19, 2018


Finally went on the dyno today to see how she is now compared to her competition BSP trim a year ago. Surprisingly, she didn't lose that much power. Yes I did lose about 15ft/lb torque midrange for about 1000rpm but considering that was on ethanol and ITBs I'd say the old girl still has some decent kick on 93 pump gas.

Dotted line is from 2017, Solid is from today - 3-19-2018
The Toda header really makes a difference. Even though I still have a cat for emissions (basically STR trim), this header seems to like a low VTEC engagement point. VTEC is at 3600rpm right now and she revs to 8600. Power is pretty solid. Seat of the pants I'd say she feels on par with Lupa right now which is a good thing. The cool things is the Racepak dash is finally back on so I'm no longer blind to what's going on under the hood.

Racepak IQ3 with all sensors working - 3-19-2018
She also achieved full legal status this weekend passing with flying colors. I mean I guess it shouldn't be a surprise. She is after all, mostly "stock" now.

Fully NYS compliant - 3-17-2018
Donning her new plate - 3-17-2018
I did have a minor issue that thankfully happened post inspection. On the way home, I was having idle issues where the car would die when I'd slow to a stop. More specifically idle recovery wasn't working. The likely culprit was the IACV (idle air control valve). The IACV was cleaned before installing but apparently based on the forums, what you also have to do when this happens is remove the IACV motor and oil the ends of the rotary shaft. This part tends to start to stick over time causing it to lag to the ECU inputs. The symptoms of course is overly low RPMs when you try to go back to idle and depending on how low, this can stall the engine. It's not too complicated but you do need a special "pentacle bit" (5 point torx) to remove the IACV motor (and not lose the special spacers that go in between the valve and the motor). Luckily SJF was able to get this tool locally and now she idles perfectly again. Yes, the shaft was definitely sticking quite a bit and after a drop or two of oil now spins freely for smooth operation.

Oiling the IACV rotary shaft - SJF Performance - 3-18-2018
I also picked up a new GoPro 5 Session that I'll be using as my primary in-car camera this year so I figured I'd give that a try. Video is definitely clearer than my old GoPro 3. Figured I'd do just a quick video of how she drives with a quick pull on the onramp.

Bumblestook Post Dyno - 3/19/2018

I got enough driving this weekend to go through almost a tank and a half of fuel to make sure she's running right. Other than the IACV issues, every system seems to be working really well. Now if only this hood would show up already so we can get her to the body shop. She's such a blast to drive. 100% I made the right call in doing this build. So many smiles per gallon...all the time, money and effort has been well worth it.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Back On the Road

Just a few days shy of 2 months since the day I dropped her off at SJF Performance, Bumblestook is finally back on the road in fully street legal trim to finish off the next phase of her build. Everything felt tight and smooth and I was even able to drive her enough to set ODB2 readiness so I can get her back to NY for her NYS inspection anytime. That was probably the biggest sigh of relief as the entire build would've been meaningless if we couldn't get her through emissions.

Back from her first drive - 3/10/2018

Bumblestook's first street drive in 5 years - 3/10/2018

What I identified as weird noises from the rear in the video on big bumps was just the rear tire rubbing against the rear bumper tab. It needs to be trimmed for clearance but I'm going to have the body shop worry about that since the rear bumper needs to be pulled out to line up with the overfenders anyway. The suspension felt super tight and responsive. The combination of spherical bearings, Spoon subframe collars and Ohlin DFVs proved to be perfectly streetable while providing all the responsiveness I wanted. You can definitely feel the road but even driving over small potholes and uneven surfaces, it isn't jarring despite what you might see in the video. I think the GoPro is also picking up noise of stuff inside the glovebox since the car itself wasn't that loud. I forgot to hook up my proper external mic to get better audio.

AP2 output flange on AP1 trans - 3/8/2018
This past week SJF finished up the remaining mechanical items on the car starting off with one thing that's been bugging me since installing the AP1 transmission to get better gearing for BSP. Due to class restrictions, we had to run the AP1 flange and AP1 bolts which are a few mm smaller than the mating holes on the AP2 propshaft. With enough loctite and torque on the bolt, the flange never moved but the right way is to change the output flange to an AP2 flange and use the correct sized bolts so I got a new one with new bolts and now I can run the more optimal configuration.

AUT cooling plate - 3/10/2018
To get more air to the air filter, we installed the AUT cooling plate. I'm not particularly happy with the fitment on this one as the holes didn't line up properly. I think I might get something different but for now it'll have to do. We re-installed a heatshield between the header and the battery since the car will be running for longer periods and I'd rather not prematurely kill the battery with heat even though the header is already heat coated.

CF Heat Shield - 3/9/2018
Both fender liners were replaced with new ones. We have cutouts for where the brake duct hose will go but we opted to leave the hoses out until after the body shop is done.

New fender liners - 3/9/2018
In the trunk, all the interior is back in and the remote adjusters for the rear shocks were mounted to the interior panels. The trunk also tends to hit the bottom of the Mugen hardtop because it extends farther out than stock so SJF fabbed a simple trunk stopper out of an old exhaust hanger which turned out to be quite effective.

Trunk stopper and passenger side rear shock adjuster - 3/10/2018
Trunk stopper and driver side rear shock adjuster - 3/10/2018
Since the OEM spare tire is useless with the Spoon calipers. the toolkit now has my own DIY "I don't have a spare tire" emergency kit that includes a tire plug kit and it turns out the Viair 74P portable compressor (the smaller version of the ones I typically carry in my cars) perfectly fits in the center space of the toolbox tray.

Perfectly sized air pump for S2000 - 3/10/2018
"I don't have a spare tire" emergency kit
To mount the front plate I'm using the Rho-Plate V2 so that it mounts to the OEM front tow hook hole so I can easily remove the plate for a clean look in situations where I don't want the front plate around.

Front plate mounted to Rho-Plate V2 - 3/10/2018
Finally, as one should always do on a hardtop equipped S2000, apply a good mount of Shin-Etsu grease around all the seals to ensure a smooth squeak free seal.

Re-applying Shin-Etsu grease - 3/10/2018
So what's next? She needs to get her NYS inspection sticker and then we're off to Evans Tuning to get dyno tuned. While the car runs just fine with the AP2 motor and AP1 ECU, this is suboptimal and potential unsafe. The AP1 revs to 9000rpms but the F22C should really only be revved to 8400-8600 (even that's pushing it if you want the engine to last). My purpose for getting a tune is to get a safer rev limit, maximize the power of the car and improve fuel efficiency and also to reconnect my Racepak dash and get all the sensors working so I can know exactly what's going on under the hood. I'm still waiting on the Mugen dry carbon hood from King Motorsports. The hood is currently on a ship from Japan and once that arrives we'll finally be able to take her to the body shop to finish off the build. The really hard part is done. Hopefully we're smooth sailing from here.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Home Stretch

We're reaching the home stretch of the mechanical part of the build. The end is in sight but there's still a lot of seemingly little things left that take up a lot of time left to do. First up since the last update, I ended up coming across my dream wheels that so rarely show up for sale let alone brand new I had no choice but to jump on them. They're Mugen MF10s in 17x9 +42 offset in the trademark dark bronze color. At only around 15lbs per wheel they're very light and at the perfect offset to clear the Spoon calipers (and probably any big brake kit in the market) without any spacers.

Mugen 17x9 +42 MF10 wrapped in Bridgestone RE-71R - 3/3/2018
The only wheel box I'll probably ever keep - 3/3/2018
The proper graded bolts for the seat rails arrived so both driver and passenger side modified OEM rails are now complete. We verified fitment and it's perfect but the seats are staying out of the car until after the body work is complete. There's a bit of a challenge getting the OEM seat belt working in this configuration because I also have eyebolts that go to the transmission tunnel for the 6pt harnesses that interfere with the seat operation if the harness is placed in the stock location. We opted to instead mount the seatbelt receiver on the eyebolt rather than the rail. This simplified the setup, ensured proper operation of both the OEM 3-pt seat belt and 6-pt harnesses, and preserved the full range of adjustment in seat position.

Completed modified OEM seat rails with Recaro Pole Position - 3/3/2018
The connector for the OEM map sensor had a broken clip so I ordered a new MAP sensor pigtail but rather than soldering it in place, SJF simply repinned the new connector and we also put in the OEM part that zip ties the connector to the MAP sensor. It's crazy that this part even exists but under high RPMs, there's a known issue where the connector loosens enough to cause issues. Specifically the TSB mentions intermittent hesitation during hard acceleration. The OEM part number is 32125-PCX-003 and is simply a plastic clip that goes over the MAP sensor with an integrated zip tie to hold everything place.

New MAP sensor connector - 3/3/2018
Evans Tuning had built me a custom radiator overflow / oil catch can combo for my BSP build years ago but it wouldn't work as is anymore because it left no gap for the AC hose going from the condenser to the compressor to go through. The overflow had to get trimmed and re-welded by SJF's friend Del. One of the bungs was cross threaded and a new bung needed to be welded in and while we were at it, some additional brackets were added to properly secure it to the chassis.

Custom Radiator overflow modified to fit AC hose - 3/1/2018
Continuing on with the AC, we finally got all the right hard lines and everything in now installed. I opted to get a new condenser and drier rather than use the used one I previously got since I couldn't ensure that no contaminants had gotten into the system. Obviously with the AC previously uninstalled I'd need a new longer serperntine belt. I went with the Continental Elite 4060578 Poly-V / Serpentine Belt rather than OEM. It's a bit cheaper than OEM and proven to be just as good.

New AC condenser and drier - 3/4/2018
Main AC hard lines reinstalled - 3/4/2018
AC compressor and new serpentine belt - 3/4/2018
New Continental Elite serpentine belt - 3/4/2018
With the AC finally in, the K&N FIPK intake could finally be installed. We were a bit worried we would be able to clear the AC lines and oil cooler hoses but there's just enough room under the heat shield to squeeze it through.

K&N FIPK installed - 3/4/2018
Oil cooler lines routed under the K&N heat shield - 3/4/2018
Other small things that got taken care of included SJF fabricating appropriate rear bumper lower brackets. AP2 rear bumpers sit lower than AP1 rear bumpers so we needed longer brackets to secure the lower portion.

Rear bumper brackets - 3/1/2018
I picked up eight aluminum 1.5" bore clamps to secure the shoulder harnesses from sliding out of position. This is particularly important for proper safety as you don't want the harnesses moving left or right once you strap in.

Aluminum 1.5" clamping collars - 3/3/2018
Harnesses secured and excess webbing rolled up - 3/3/2018
The USB charging outlets we installed at the back of the glove box last week had to be relocated. With the hard top and tonneau cover on it's a bit difficult to access it so we relocated it to the top of the secret compartment instead. The Modifry glove box organizing was also finally back in stock so I can keep things organized.

USB charging outlets relocated - 3/3/2018
Modifry glove box organizer - 3/3/2018
SJF also noticed a bit of weeping from the outer bleed screw on the Spoon calipers. After backing it out and retorquing it to 7Nm, we re-bled the brakes and so far the brakes feel good again. The car is scheduled to go back on the dyno at Evans Tuning in 2 weeks to be retuned weather permitting so it's crunch time and the final bits and pieces need to get sorted so we can make sure everything is working as expected before I go there.