What’s Good

I posted up some videos of the post SuperLap Battle carnage.  While disappointing to have to call it quits early on, watching those teams battle it out was a blast.  My own adventure was pretty succinct.  Day One I missed the driver’s meeting assembling the car; so, I was cut out of the morning sessions.  In the PM, I did a few shakedown laps.  The car was not holding oil pressure and running a bit rough.  I put my tent up, and figured if it continued tomorrow I would retire.  Sure enough, after a chance encounter with world champion Markos Mylonas in the showers at Buttonwillow, I still had low oil pressure the next morning,

Loading the car up on the trailer, I stuck around to watch the battles.  Once I got home, I pulled the engine and discovered the crank had about an eighth inch of fore/aft play in it.  When Renner Racing Development tore down the motor for me (I kill wrist pin circlips when I do it), they found that my mystery EJ2.2T block had not been machined to accept the modern main bearings and was rocking the #3 thrust bearing.  Two years of track use and one year of cold starts, even with the pre-oiling, probably didn’t do me any favors.  The bearings were toast and the case halves too sadly.

So off to YimiSport buy a new motor?  Nah, off to Indotech Motorsports to buy a Miata!  More to follow on my repo Miata purchase for the fiance-turned-wife later.  Oh yeah, I got married.

Here is Jessica — super excited with her new toy.

And here Mark and I are out screwing around at the track.

Then off to Yimi Sport Tuning in Santa Clarita, CA.  Picked up some IAG case halves with pinned mains and some other goodies.  If this can’t hold the boost, I don’t know what will.  Then, after nearly dropping my case halves and catching them like the Eagles in the end zone, I went down to Renner Racing Development to triple check my bearings and build a motor my wife would be proud of.

Renner Stories
We had a flat tire at the track and asked if they knew of a good solution.  Their reply was to get a piece of wood and drive over the tire with a truck to get it off the rim.  They looked at us like we were stupid for not knowing this.  These guys are nuts.  They blow motors, go home, and come back the next day like “What?  We just built a new motor from spare parts and now we’re going to destroy everyone here.”  If you haven’t seen their GC builds, you don’t know.

Now to make Ken put his motor in his car; so, I can start on mine.  Oh yeah… Ken got bored and built a motor too.  It’s going to be full of surprises.

As always, Superlap Battle leaves you hungering for next year’s event.  Can’t wait to get Ken’s car and my car out there on fresh motors to see where the times fall.  Especially since my last minute install of the Radium Engineering Fuel Cell and FSCT dropped my weight by 200 pounds.  Hopefully, we will be able to do some testing at the end of April at CVR.

Lexan Project

In preparation for Superlap Battle, I decided to install polycarbonate windows on my 2006 Subaru STi.  I had seen some pre-shaped products that supposedly seal right in, but I did not want to pay the premium.  I figured I would try to make my own since I made my own splitter and had seen the savings on using raw materials (not to mention replacement cost) vs pre-made solutions.  Not a knock against them, I just don’t like to pay a premium for wear items.  At this point, it seems like everything is a wear item.

Step 1 Lexan

I purchased my Lexan Margard material at the Plastic Depot in Burbank.  It cost me around $330.  Purchasing just the rear windshield from Plastics4Performance would have run me $600+.  GTA rules require the rear windshield and the rear door panels have some kind of window; so, my plan was to simply bolt the plastic where windows should go.  Many folks are able to accomplish a pretty clean install of Lexan, but I had ripped all the weather stripping out of my car.  This means the install would be ugly but functional just like the rest of my car.  Also, we wound up doing the install 5 days before SLB; so, the cuts and aesthetics will get cleaned up later on.  Most folks wind up painting the edges to hid the imperfections.  I might try some oversized rubber liner.

Step 2 Measure Twice

I had the polycarbonate cut to three pieces of 5×3, 3×2 and 3×2.  The 3×2 was barely enough to cover the front to back of the rear pillars, but we made it work.  We removed a lot of material from the 5×3, but I don’t think it would be worth getting a smaller piece.

Step 3 Cut A Thousand Times
We wound using a jigsaw with a polycarbonate blade to trim the poly down little by little.  Having an overlay would have been a lot easier, but we did not have anything handy to capture the curves. We started by tracing the inside of the top and then trimming it down to fit the curved contour along the top.  There was a lot of back and forth between the car and the cutting table until we got the top to bottom to fit.  Then we worked the sides out until they could bend into the grooves.  We had the trunk off, which probably helped.  Once we had the up/down, left/right in, we trimmed up the bottom to a reasonable fitment.  You can save a lot of time by using the overlay from one side window to cut out the shape of the other side window.  Be mindful of shape when bending the poly.  This is really a two man job.  The Lexan Margard material actually bent quite well to fit the rear window, and we were pleasantly surprised with the result — assuming it doesn’t rip out at 160 MPH.

Step 4 Drill and Rivnuts
With an eye towards replacing, removing or servicing the areas affected, I chose to use rivnuts and bolts to secure the polycarbonate.  It’s a cheap and easy to use method.  Drilling holes was the hardest part.  For the B pillar, we wound up tapping threads into the steel underneath.  We also wound up using a lock nut on a longer bolt to secure the upper rear corner of the side windows.  It looks a little funny, but it beats having the window flopping around at speed.  Again, be mindful of the shape when bending bolted down as you select your drill holes.  I think if I add some rubber to the doors, they will actually seal up fairly well.  Since my doors are gutted, I did not have to worry as much about trimming the bottoms of the side windows.




Now I just need to get my Radium Fuel Cell Surge Tank and fire suppression installed before Superlap Battle this week.  If anyone wants to send me a large sheet of paper or something in the future, I’d be happy to trace my windows out for you to use as a starting point.

Subaru Head Gasket Rant

How much sealing do you need?  Subarus are known for blowing head gaskets.  Let’s accept it and move on.

So, you upgraded to ARP2000, but if you want to play on Ethanol with the big boys (400+ whp, track use, etc), you will probably want to spend the extra $450 to get the 625 studs.  I learned this empirically tracking my GD and GR.  I had fresh rebuilds on both of them, and they were both pushing coolant out the overflow.  These cars were not crazy (430WHP, 550WHP), but I would take them out for 10 laps at a time in SoCal summer weather.  Rarely saw temperature issues, but the heads would lift and push coolant out the overflow tank.  We went to SEMA (2014?) and asked all the motor experts (sleeved motors, head gasket manufacturers, etc).  Common response was “you need to retorque the heads,” which is a tall order for a Subaru.  We tried it on both cars anyway.  We did get a quarter turn out of the ARP2000, but cars still pushed coolant at the track.  No signs of deformation on the headgaskets, just coolant leaking past.

This kept me off the track for a while and ultimately led me away from sleeved motors, which both cars had.  I upgraded one car to 1/2″ head studs and the other to ARP 625 head studs.  Based on 2 years of track abuse, I have no reason to think the 1/2″ (more expensive) upgrade is necessary.  My EJ22 putting out 550WHP exclusively used on track with ARP 625 has run two seasons now without refresh (though I’m likely jinxing myself for this year).

IAG’s website hits on one very important issue.  If you’re going to start playing with fasteners, you run the risk of distorting your mains.  Increasing the clamping load creates all kinds of weird distortions in the block; so, spend the extra money to line hone the main journals of the case halves while bolted together with upgraded case studs.  Maybe with the headstuds/heads too?  I’m not sure.

Lastly, O-Rings create new issues as they tend to leak with common MLS head gaskets.  I have yet to hear of a solid track build using o-rings that didn’t have a leaky gasket.  Maybe spraying copper all over the head gasket would work?  That copper O-Ring needs something to bite into. I simply don’t have enough empirical data to opine on the use.  I do still believe sleeved motors can be used if built correctly from the ground up, but, again, extra machining is not optional.  Put all your fasteners on and machine.  I tried to build a sleeved motor that had seen better days last year.  Machined a bunch of stuff, but didn’t do it in the proper order.  The cylinders would go three thou out of round when everything was clamped together.  Sadly, pistons are not egg shaped.

Just some thoughts.  I’m probably 20% accurate at best, but what do I know?  I was raised with girls.

Speed Ring is Coming

Anyone else looking forward to this event?  I hope it is as much fun as last year minus all the beer and electrical problems.  Clever sabotage HKS.  I hear Ken Kasitz will be bringing the heat in his Feal Suspension, Yimi Sport-Tuned STi this year +250 whp.