Saturday, May 25, 2019

Advan A052 Testing

We got blessed today with the best autocross weather you could possibly ask for. It was low 70s, low humidity, few clouds, cool breeze and no chance of rain. This is perfect tire testing temperature since I could see how they feel relatively cool during early runs and then really hot for later runs. I did not bring a sprayer so I just let them keep increasing in temperature.

Testing the Advan A052
NNJR SCCA - 5-25-2019
My initial impression is that these are really good tires. They "talk" more than the RE71s in that they squeal quite a bit when pushed and do so well below the limit so you can use the noise as audio queues on how much harder you can push them. I had to drive like a total asshole on one run to finally break the rear really loose and almost spin but even then I was able to recover pretty easily. I ran them 30psi front and 32psi rear, the same pressures as the REs and they seemed to like it. I did have to make some shock adjustments since my new 245/265 stagger vs the old 255/265 stagger, (which is really more like a 255/275 RE71R equivalent) introduced a bit of understeer so I softened the front shocks a bit and the balance was restored. They felt very nicely controlled and turn in quite sharply even "cold". They did seem to hook up better and better as the heat increased up to the point where tire pressures stopped rising. Unfortunately I forgot my pyrometer so I don't know what temps they got up to but they were very hot to the touch. These tires suit the Cayman nicely in that I find it harder to keep tires cool than try to get heat in them so I'm going to stick with them for the rest of the season.

NNJR SCCA - 5-25-2019

As far as times though, well, it wasn't great but I don't blame the tire. The new softer springs are here, ready to be installed now. In the interest of expediency, the car's going back to Speedsport Tuning when they get back from their PCA club race at The Glen so she can be fully sorted before the NEPA autocross at Poconos Raceway in June.  If you look at the videos of my runs especially the helmet cam, you can see how much I'm getting tossed around the car even fully strapped in with a 6-pt harness because of how overly sprung she is right now. I had the grip in the tires but could not take advantage of it as the bumps and undulations really made her super hard to drive and put power down. I'd frequently engage ABS in the brake zones as my front tires kept getting bumped off the pavement and frequently the jolts would be enough to force my foot off the gas pedal. It's a horrible mess to be honest and if I can't get her to glide over undulations, then there's no way I'll have competitive pace for Nationals so some drastic changes in suspension setup need to be made. Softening the shocks overall helps a bit with this but at the sacrifice of transition speed. It's really killing me in the slaloms. Really looking forward to what more compliant suspension and these tires can do in upcoming events.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Fixing Exhaust Leaks

During the NJ ProSolo I noticed the exhaust sounded a bit weird (a bit truck like) and the throttle response felt a bit sluggish except in sport mode. I also kept getting the P2198 CEL for O2 sensor stuck rich in bank1. After the event, I dropped the car off with Lee at Hybrid Motors to put in the primary O2 sensors I had already purchased anyway just in case those were bad but in doing so he noticed that I had developed a pretty bad exhaust leak around the header gaskets. This was more likely the cause of my CEL.

New exhaust gaskets - 5-24-2019
I reached out to Soul Performance since they had provided me with the gaskets to use with their header and asked where I could buy new ones. John, at Soul Performance, immediately got back to me and offered to ship new gaskets to me asap at no cost. I asked that he double everything up in case  we wanted to double stack the gaskets for a better seal and he did one better, he sent me 3 sets of gaskets including brand new OEM Porsche gaskets which he recommended I use instead. They did not give me any fuss and I had the gaskets two days later. This is superb customer service!

Today, I dropped the car off with Lee again and sure enough, when he pulled the header I was leaking pretty badly on the engine side gasket. If you look at the generic gasket in the picture above (the ones not in plastic wrap) it's just pretty flat whereas the OEM one has all sorts of ridges to line up perfectly with the head to get a proper seal. The new OEM gasket fixed the leak. There was also a bit of leak by the clamp that joins the exhaust to the mid-pipe. They also sealed that up and the car is now exhaust leak free. I could immediately hear the difference but more surprisingly, it just feels so peppy again. I don't know how much power I lost while I had those leaks but it was definitely noticeable. It was so noticeable that I had to check that I hadn't accidentally pressed the Sport button before driving off.

Looking forward to tomorrow. We'll be testing the new tires and Kay is at full power and sounds like she should again.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Advans on Advans

After a pretty successful track day with Bumblestook last week on the new Yokohama Advan A052 tires, I knew I had to get a set for Kay. While the Bridgestone RE-71R is no slouch of a tire and these Advans still have to prove themselves to be better, they have a few traits I was interested in. The most important of those traits is that they likes heat. I often leave the car idling in grid in between runs to keep the engine cool and doing so keeps all four corners really warm. If the temps get even close to 70F I struggle keeping the RE-71Rs cool unless I shut the engine off. I thin on concrete at Nationals, in hot temperatures and long courses, these tires will be phenomal on a Cayman.

Advan A052 265/35/18 Rear Tires - 5-18-2019
At last week's track day testing them on Bumblestook they also proved to be quite amazing in cooler temps and even in the damp. They were very predictable and even when I got into some four wheel slides the tire feedback and response was there. I've driven on RE-71Rs on the track on the same car and I'd say both had similar grip but somehow I liked the feel of the Advans better. They felt more "supple" without losing feel, feedback, and responsiveness.

Advan A052 245/40/18 Front Tires - 5-18-2019
I was hoping they'd release a 255 width 18" tire but they stopped at 245. However, when I started to look at the specs I noticed something interesting, these tires run quite a bit wider than the RE-71R so much so that on Bumblestook I have a tiny bit of rubbing in the rear where I didn't before on the same size tire. I decided to go with the 245s in the front and the maximum STU allows, 265, in the rear. The 245s are actually about as wide an RE71R 255 and the 265 is almost half an inch wider when mounted. I didn't quite believe the spec sheet at first but comparing the two mounted tires side by side you can see it even if I don't bring out a ruler. The 245s are taller than 255 REs and also taller than the 265s but the different is about as much as when I ran 265/285 18s when Kay was in B-Street and I had no issues with speed sensors or other traction control sensors on the car going crazy.

265 RE-71R (left) vs 265 A052 (right) both on 18x10 wheels
SJF Performance, as always, carefully mounted these tires and we also put a durometer on them just to test. You can see that the A052 is a hair harder but the RE71Rs just came off the car after me spiritedly driving on them for about an hour so they were still pretty warm. What was more telling is that the durometer left a mark on the tire where it didn't on REs. These are definitely soft tires but the sidewall is surprisingly still stiff.

SJF mounting tires - 5-18-2019
Durometer on RE-71R
Durometer on Advan A052
When I was driving around on Bumblestook, even on the street I noticed quite a difference but I wasn't sure if it was just because of her suspension setup. Now that I have the same tires on Kay, I can definitely confirm that despite these having similarly stiff side walls, they are incredible good on the street. They have minimal to no road noise and amazingly absorb a lot of unevenness in the road surface. It was quite a noticeable difference driving home on these tires. I'm holding my full judgement on them until I've had a chance to race them in the dry but so far I will say that for both street and damp conditions hot or cold, these are on par with the REs in terms of grip while feeling quite a bit better.

Advan A052 on Advan GT Premium Wheels
Advan A052 on Advan GT Premium Wheels
One thing I will note though is that unlike the RE-71Rs these tires don't have an extra "lip" around the edge to protect the rim so if you street park and suck at it, you could curb your lip. It also makes it look a little "weird" in that the wheel sticks out a bit from the tire but I don't care as long as these tires perform and so far I'm one happy customer.

No "rim protector lip" on the tire
If weather holds I'm hoping to test these out next weekend and will report back some thoughts along with some suspension changes during the June lull in racing.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

More P2198 CEL Woes

Well, just before the NJ ProSolo, I started getting check engine lights again. It was the familiar P2198 (stuck rich on bank 1). This time though it didn't seem to happen at arbitrary times. The moment I'd clear it, if I started the car I'd see the code was pending and by the 2nd or 3rd start, the check engine light would come on. Thankfully it didn't seem to affect the performance of the car much but I finally got the car back to Lee at Hybrid Motors today to get checked out.

New Bosch Primary O2 sensors - 5-16-19
New Bosch Primary O2 sensors - 5-16-19
This time I asked that he put in the new Bosch primary o2 sensors I bought a while ago. So far I haven't seen the P2198 pending show up, but time will tell. Unfortunately, he also noticed that I had an exhaust leak. There are leaks by the gaskets on both ends of the headers. I contacted Soul Performance about my issue and they're sending me new gaskets for free. Here's hoping these fix this issue permanently.

Maintenance Updates:

Mileage: 35,290
- New Bosch 17276 Primary O2 Sensors (both sides)

Saturday, May 11, 2019

2nd Annual S2K TakeOver at NYST

Yesterday we had our 2nd Annual S2K TakeOver at the NY Safety Track in Jefferson, NY. It's an S2000 only (with one or two exceptions) track day organized by Brad from s2ktakeover. I got there the day before to meet everyone, do the track walk and meet new faces. Track days are always fun but being able to go to the track with all my S2000s brothers and sisters makes it extra special as we can all share in the love we have for these cars and enjoy them to the fullest.

Arrived at NYST - 5-9-2019
It's always great seeing familiar faces and some new ones too. There were a number of people that have had their S2000s for a while now and are now just popping their track time cherry as well as a few that had come out with us in other cars before and have since bought an S2000 of their own. It's good to know that even though S2000 prices are creeping up, truly passionate owners still come out and use them for what they were made for.

Track walk - 5-9-2019
Track walk - 5-9-2019
The grip on this track has always been quite good and I was excited to drive it again. Of course as luck would have it, on the track day itself it was windy and rainy. The track was quite damp but thankfully no puddles on the racing line.

Ready for track time - 5-10-2019
Ready for track time - 5-10-2019
The track was pretty slick during the morning as a result. I was thoroughly impressed with these new Yokohama Advan A052 tires. At least in damp conditions they were quite fast and very controlled. I was logging data via the Track Addict app and was recording up to 1.3 laters Gs in the damp. Since they have stiff sidewalls I set the pressures to what I had on the RE71s (30psi front, 28psi rear). It seemed to like that quite well. I set the fastest NA lap time in the wet at 1:49 in session 2 second only in lap time to the supercharged DeftMotion S2000 who were also running the same tires.

Arrived at NYST - 5-9-2019

 Session 2 in the wet, 1:49s - NYST 5-10-2019

They're also a bit wider than the RE71s for the same "size". I was actually rubbing a tiny bit on my rear bumper tabs on big dips in the road on my drive up to the track but at the track itself, I had no rubbing. I'll likely have to trim the rear bumper tab a bit more for perfect clearance.

Yokohama Advan A052
After lunch time, I filled up the tank again and as I was about to go out in drying conditions, one of the cars on track had his oil filter back out and oiled the entire racing line. I went out for a recon lap and deemed it unsafe for me to continue so I parked it that session. It didn't look like things were going to clear up so I started to pack my stuff.

JJ lent me this sweet color matching compressor
Of course as luck would have it the sun came out and dried the track completely for the last two session. As I was contemplating taking my stuff out again to get dry runs, I got a weather alert on the phone about a chance of a tornado in the area and there were clouds above us again. I decided not continue and of course, the tornado or the rain never came and people were putting some nice flying laps in the dry. I really wish I could've tested these in full dry conditions. The DeftMotion guys did set the fastest lap overall in the dry on the same tires and they were already old tires for them. They also said these tires love the heat but frankly even in cool conditions, I felt they were at least on par with RE71s. Granted, I didn't test them in full wet conditions with standing water so I'll reserve my judgement on them as a good "wet tire" until then.

Conclusion of another fun and safe track event - 5-10-2019
And here's the video Kwesi Peters (Topi Digital) put together of the event.

S2K TakeOver NYST Feature Video
By: Kwesi Peters (Topi Digital)

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Updated Oil Analysis for 2019

Finally got my oil analysis back which includes wear from the track day at The Glen towards the end of last year. Everything's looking pretty stable which is great. I think an individual oil analysis is good but being able to see the historic trend is even more valuable.

Blackstone Labs oil sample results - 4-26-19
The little shocker at the dyno a few weeks ago with my power being down got me a bit worried and as the data and evidence continues to show no issues with the engine, I'm more and more certain the worn down clutch was 100% to blame. Great seeing this before we head out to NYST this week for the S2K Takeover.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

NJ ProSolo Win - Lessons Learned

Despite what was forecasted to be a pretty soggy weekend, after some Saturday morning early showers we got lucky enough to get a break in the weather and get all our afternoon runs in dry, warm conditions. STU didn't have enough drivers to make a class so we got moved into Bump Class and Kay took the lead early on. Today, with heavy downpour and the course having large amounts of standing water, the 2nd day runs were cancelled securing Kay's first "big event" win. I would've loved to have gone up against a full STU class like the Fingerlakes Tour that I'll be missing in 2 weeks but a win is a win and I'll take it.

Kay's first ProSolo victory - 5-5-2019
More importantly, I finally got decently comfortable launching the car. Turns out I needed to get the car up to 6000 rpms and slip the clutch to avoid wheel hop (though I wasn't successful at doing this each time). I think maybe stiffer engine or trans mounts might help but with no other ProSolos for me on the calendar I don't think I'll bother. The rest of the events including nationals will just be normal starts so I don't need to try and fix that now.

Kay taking the lead day 1 - 5-4-2019
Photo by: SoloMatters

SCCA NJ ProSolo - 5-4-2019

I think now that I've had a few more events in the dry, the car is a bit too stuff. I'm unable to really lay the power down in some spots especially in a wavy lot like the Meadowlands. The balance overall is good but she's too "nervous" and I'm finding myself having to breath off the throttle quite a bit to get her settled. I'm going to see how soft I can take the shocks down too without sacrificing transitional speed but I suspect either a spring rate change or shock valving changes will be required in the future to make it really work the way I want.

NJ ProSolo - 5-4-2019
For now, to make future shock adjustments easier, I finally just took a dremmel and cut out a hole in the front panels to get to my front adjusters. Thankfully, these panels are pretty cheap (under $20) from Porsche new so I can always replace them to put the car back to original condition later.

Accessible front shock adjusters - 5-3-2019
Overall, I'm pretty happy with this event. The car isn't broken and that's always a good thing after a ProSolo and I've learned a bunch. I left a ton of time out there and the my pace needs to be faster if I want to truly be competitive for Nationals this year. I've got 4 months left to close that gap. We'll definitely try out best to make that happen.

Day 1 grid - 5-4-2019

Friday, May 3, 2019

Plastidip and Hardtop Locks

I probably should just clear bra the car if I really cared but the black part of the CR lip has already taken a bit of a beating from road debris in just a year. When the car was resprayed, the entire bumper was painted yellow and the bottom piece painted over black but obviously rock chips and stuff cause the underlying yellow to show.

Black paint chipped from road debris - 5-3-2019
It doesn't make sense to keep doing a "proper" paint job on this part alone since I'm sure it'll just keep happening and I'm not really trying to be super precious when I drive her around (that takes away from the pleasure). I was initially thinking of wrapping that part in black vinyl but instead I decided the easiest thing to do is just to spray that part with matte black plastidip. It's easy to apply and I can keep repeating the process as many times as I need to make it look normal again.

Plasti-Dip with "Can Gun" - 5-3-2019
After about two coats - 5-3-2019
It's not perfect but at least it doesn't look too bad and I won't be upset if it chips again. It's actually one of the best uses of plasti-dip I can think of. While I was at it, I also plasti-dipped over the Zunsport logo on the grill we installed last weekend. I don't really mind that it says Zunsport since I really like what the company makes but it's a bit of an eyesore having a white logo in the front of the car where there's nothing else white.

Zunsport logo blacked out
Also, after much waiting, I finally got new hardtop locks from Heel Toe Automotive. I already had their locks but one of them was no longer locking and while I'm sure the hardtop is perfectly safe with just one side locked that bothered me so I installed new ones.

New hardtop locks - 5-3-2019
I'm sure a few people were wondering why the heck I was driving Bumblestook around after dropping Kay off at the Meadowlands for the NJ ProSolo this weekend. Partly it was just to keep putting miles on the clutch but more importantly I needed to grab a datalog of the car now that the clutch is broken in to make sure my AFR is all safe for next week's track day.

Rare instance of both cars being out a the same time