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|Great Week, Sad Finish at Runoffs||Monday, October 12, 2020|
|I didn't lie. I said if the car ran, nobody could beat us. This was the best car we have ever built, 100% legal, faster than hell, and it was even pretty with the new wrap. Couple that with one of the best amateur drivers in the country and you will not be beat.
Earlier in the year, in addition to all the other weird things to go wrong, we had experienced overheating of the RV while towing the new InTech stacker race trailer. We had just finished reassembling the Discovery RV with a new radiator, cleaned & repaired charge air cooler, new crossover pipe, new hoses, clamps, belts, 6 idler bearings, the fan hub bearing, 9 gallons of radiator coolant, the oil filter and 4 gallons of oil. We loaded up the InTech behind the RV and took her out for its maiden voyage to Road America for the 2020 National Championship Runoffs on Tuesday Sep 29. Kevin & family followed the next day in the Odyssey. We all met at the Lake House and enjoyed some beautiful weather before the race week began.
On Thursday Oct 1 Kevin and I drove the race rig to the track for a test day and to get set up in our paddock spot in Turn 5. The track was beautiful and ready for the big week. Kevin went to a drivers meeting very early and we got ready for the first session at 9:30am. In addition to the rains we brought 3 sets of the newly designed Hoosiers with the stronger cord that Hoosier had made for us to correct our tendency to blow the tires because of our low starting pressures. In the first session we used the used Hoosier tires mounted on the Enkeis just to get used to the track and everything went well. In the second and third sessions we tempered a new set of Hoosier in each session mounted on our Advanti wheels with the Tirelief valves. In the last session we went back to the Enkie wheels and tried to run a lot of laps to simulate a race. Our best ever lap on this track was in the Runoffs of 2010 which was a 2:33.08. In this last session we ran a 2:31.80 and we knew there was more to be had. We put the car back in the trailer and drove the Sequoia back to the Lake House where the kids were having a blast driving their balance bikes on the driveway where Grandma had drawn out a racetrack in chalk.
On the weekend we decided to stay close to home since the China Flu had been on the rise in Wisconsin. We had great fun with the kids on the warm days and a fire in the fireplace in the evenings. On Sunday we took the Azure boat out for a test drive since the weather was pretty nice and the boat had just been repaired a few weeks earlier. It was so nice we cooked porterhouse steaks on the grill.
On Monday Kevin, Carrie, the kids and I drove to the track to get the RV leveled with new jack pads, get registered, and get through tech. We rode around the track on the Yamaha cart (which the kids just love), and saw a bunch of friends. We got back to the Lake House in time to give the kids baths and watch the Packers beat the Falcons to go 4-0.
Tuesday we left for the track early so Kevin could make it to the Prod meeting at 8:30am. I got the car ready for our first qualifying session at 3pm. Carrie and the kids made it to the track just before lunch so we had time to go for cart rides before the session. We took the car out on one of the newly tempered sets of Hoosier with the Tirelief valves. On Kevin's 3rd hot lap as he was getting up to speed he turned in a 2:33.604 which was 3rd place behind Chima and Shippert both in Lotus Super 7s. On the fourth lap in turn eight the car darted off the track to the right where Kevin managed to keep it from hitting the concrete bridge abutment. After some investigation we found the clamp on the spline of the steering shaft going into the steering rack came loose enough to jump a few splines and toss the car off the track. In doing so the splitter base was pretty much destroyed. The car was also not breaking well so we poured over the brake system to try to find the problem. That evening we went to Menards to get a new piece of plywood to make a couple new splitter bases.
Wednesday morning we finished rebuilding the splitter, installed new front rotors and brake pads even though the old rotors and pads looked fine, and bled the system. On the way to the track Carrie, Mom & Sheryl went to Appleton to pick up a rebuilt master cylinder in case that was the problem, but we did not install it just yet. We took it out for a hardship lap which is not very fast, and only one lap, and everything seemed OK. At 330pm we took her out for the second qualifying session. As soon as Kevin started pressing the car the rear end snapped out on right turns. It was undrivable at speed so we brought it back, turning in on a 2:34.10. Our 2:33.60 time from Tuesday fell to 4th place but the pole was only a 2:32.73. We looked all over the car extensively and only found a slightly loose bolt on the left rear lower control arm. We tightened it and got ready for tomorrow. Before the kids left for the Lake House we all had a birthday cake for daddy and sang him Happy Birthday. The kids went back with Grandma and Sheryl so Carrie could stay with us. Joe Moser, Mark, Kevin, Carrie & I went into Elkhart Lake for dinner at the Paddock restaurant which was excellent.
Thursday was our last day of qualifying so we wanted to have a good session. We installed our newly rebuilt rear shocks just in case they were the problem, then we took the car to the flat pad to do a complete setup on the car. We actually found the "off track" on Tuesday knocked the camber and toe out on the rear which was most likely the problem with the rear snapping around. After finishing that we went out for a hardship lap before the session about noon and it was just fine. At 3:30pm Kevin came across the start/finish on his first hot lap after the out lap and turned in a 2:32 flat to take the pole. I predicted that a 2:32.50 would take the pole this week. Kevin thought it would be a 2:32 flat. We both expected that to stand but he stayed on pace to try to improve it. Right after that Shippert turned in a 2:31.9 edging out Kevin to retake the pole. On Kevin's second lap he turned in a 2:31.71. We both believed that no one could beat that. Just a minute later Shippert tuned in a 2:31.41 to retake the pole again. I radioed that to Kevin and he said he would try to beat that. Since he had slowed down already he had to get back on the throttle and go across the start/finish again to start a fast lap. He got half way through the lap and the computer told him he was .5 seconds better than his best lap. Just then the tank ran dry and the engine quit. Neither of us thought we would need more gas than for just a couple laps to take the pole. We never expected anyone to go faster than a 2:32 and we CERTAINLY never expected it to be a Lotus Super 7!!! Oh well, we missed out on the pole but we knew we could go faster than him and go faster throughout the whole race, not just a few hot laps on preheated tires.
On Friday race day it was a gorgeous day, especially for Wisconsin in October. We got up early, gassed up the car and rechecked everything. We selected our race tires and put them on the car. We didn't take the car off the stands because the kids love to "help" do that when they arrive. My nephew Jeff and his wife Kaylin came to see the race in their first ever trip to Road America. I made use of the Yamaha cart to give them a good tour of this amazing facility. The race started at 3:30 and was really kind of boring. Kevin started in 2nd and immediately jumped to first and stayed there. The pole sitter, Shippert made a few dive bomb moves to briefly get in front of Kevin but it was apparent he was over driving the car. On the second lap he late braked into turn one and drove it off the track to end his day. Kevin drove out to about a 6 second lead when they put out a full course yellow in lap 6. At the restart Kevin blasted away from the pack to another 4 second lead and stayed there. In lap 11 going into turn 5 he radioed that the AEM computer had told him he had lost all oil pressure to the engine. Not being sure it was not a sensor error, and because it was the championship race I told him to keep going. In turn 8 the #3 rod broke and came through the engine. As usual when an engine blows it started a fire and he had to pop to fire system to put it out. Of the 23 FP cars that were entered in the race, 21 started, only 8 finished! Craig Chima in the other Super 7 drove a great race and ended up taking the win.
With all the issues we had we still had a great time. We were fortunate enough to have no one injured, and to spend the week with family and friends, especially the three kids Walter, Cora & Edwin.
Just for fun I thought I would make a list of the issues that have hounded us this year and late last year:
Oct 5, 2019 - Runoffs qualifying at VIR - blown engine (install spare weak engine)
Oct 10, 2019 - Runoffs race at VIR - flat tire while in third place with one lap left
May 28 - Discovery RV overheating (flush & replace coolant)
May 29 - World Wide Raceway test day - Transmission internals vibrated loose, can't race
June 9 - Discovery RV overheating (clean radiator & replace thermostats)
June 12 - Road America qualifying - Blown engine (from trans issue), can't race
July 16 - Discovery RV overheating (replace radiator, repair charge cooler, replace hoses, water pump, belts, clamps, idler bearings, etc.)
Aug 15 - Road America qualifying - Blown fuse (remove some load from the circuit)
Aug 15 - Road America race - Blown fuse during race while in lead (suspect kill switch so jumper it)
Aug 16 - Road America race - Blow tire to end race while in lead
Sep 5 - Mid Ohio - Soft tire to end race while in lead
Sep 6 - Mid Ohio - Soft tire during race but finish and win
Oct 6 - Road America - Steering column spline slip, destroy splitter
Oct 7 - Road America - rear super loose from "off damage", can't qualify
Oct 8 - Road America - car runs out of gas on a lap that would have taken the pole and possibly set a record lap
Oct 9 - Road America - car loses oil pressure and blows engine on lap 11 with big lead
UPDATE: Upon removal and disassembly of the engine we found the two rotors in the oil pump had just broken. In 20 years of racing Hondas we have never seen or even heard of this happening. We have found aftermarket oil pump rotors and even whole aftermarket oil pumps that claim to be built to handle the stresses of racing.
|HOW TO REPLACE RADIATOR ON CAT C7||Wednesday, September 30, 2020|
|PERSONAL NOTES ON RADIATOR REMOVAL OF 2006 FLEETWOOD DISCOVERY WITH CAT C7
We first discovered the Fleetwood Discovery overheating on our first trip towing our new 22ft stacker trailer. The stacker added a load on the Discovery due to aerodynamics and weight especially when gong up grades. The trip was from Columbus, OH to St Louis, IL. It only got overheated a few times and we didn't think too much of it. On the way back was about the same. After we got home we had the radiator coolant flushed and replaced. Our next trip was longer to Road America in Wisconsin. It overheated even worse which forced us to run a 55-60 mph to keep it from overheating (that makes for a long trip). After we got back we had the system inspected, radiator blown out with compressed air, and the two thermostats replaced by a place that works on diesels and RVs. On a test run without the trailer it ran fine just in the middle of the NORMAL on the gauge. Our next trip with our trailer was to Mid Ohio and to our surprise it was even worse. Fortunately it was only a 50 mile trip. With only 63,000 miles on the Discovery we didn't expect to have cooling issues already. After calling Freightliner customer service and taking to general and diesel mechanics we could not diagnose the problem. Then I called the only RV technician I trust and asked him if he had ever seen this problem before. He immediately said "we see this all the time". Apparently there are two problems with the rear engine RVs. First, they are rear engine. The radiator is constantly subjected to dust and debris being kicked up by the front and rear tires of the coach. Second, they have a thing called "a slobber tube". The real name is the crankcase ventilation tube which vents air from the crankcase of the engine. In a car or most trucks this tube is run back into the intake and the oily fumes are burned in the engine. It even creates some issues there, but in our case the tube was dumped right below the radiator where the oily fumes are constantly sucked in the radiator cooling fan and blown into the radiator and the Charge Air Cooler (CAC). The CAC cools the air coming from the turbocharger before it enters the intake of the engine. The oily film left on the radiator and CAC gather and cake dust like you would not believe. When we finally removed the radiator it looked like it had been troweled full of gook to close off all the fins. Maybe 25% was still allowing air to flow.
Since in August we were in the middle of getting ready for the National Championship race in October, I told my RV technician I wanted him to do the job. He said "no problem, any time in January or February". I knew he was good and so did everybody else. I got a quote from Freightliner who said they would do it with 16 to 20 labor hours at $175/hr plus parts bought through them. They admitted to me they had never done an RV before but they could probably figure it out….. Since we needed our RV for the race, and I had 7 weeks to get it done, I decided to do the job myself.
The first thing I did was read as much as I could about the job on forums and I found tons of little pieces and clues. Then I started removing parts to get to the problem.
- Remove the access cover to the top of the engine under the bed. Keep the access panel handy so you can set it back in place to stand on while working on the closet access panel.
- Remove top grate at back of coach, (4) screws in two top brackets(Philips) and (4) screws in strut brackets(5/16"hex)
- Remove bottom grate at back of coach, drill out (4) rivets in the side brackets and lift the grate out of the bottom slots, find detached fiberglass bracket attachment
- Remove right rubber flap with metal bracket, (11) self tapping Philips screws on rubber and (2) 9/16" nuts on studs (clamps on bottom nut), cut rubber to get past hydraulic hoses (this should not be cut. Empty the reservoir and remove the hoses first.)
- Remove left rubber flap with metal bracket, (7) self tapping Philips screws on rubber and (2) 9/16" nuts on studs through bracket
- Remove fuel filter from bracket at bottom of radiator and put to side, (2) 5/8" X 9/16" bolts
- Remove fuel filter bracket, (3) large bolts, one does not have clearance to be removed
- Remove air filter indicator, (2) self tapping screws, and set aside
- Remove top rubber flap with metal bracket, (~10) self tapping Philips screws on rubber, then reach behind the rubber to remove (2) 9/16" nuts on top studs and (1) bolt in back of a bracket near the coolant tank
- Remove closet doors (lift up and tip out) and all cloths and stuff in closet
- Remove base speaker with held in with Velcro and put to side
- Remove the box over the opening that supports the speaker, just lifts out
- Remove the carpeted drain pipe cover box with two Philips screws that runs along the back bottom of the closet (the pipe is not used in my coach so remove pipe & box entirely.
- Remove the closet floor with 4 long bolts (this piece is slid under the drawer wall and must be moved sideways to get out
- Remove electrical connector bulkhead fitting holding the diagnostic electrical connector above the radiator with (4) Allen screws and set to side
- Cut and remove the black drain pipe from behind the drawers that runs through the closet (this is not used as it was for a washer drain, then cap the pipe
- Remove bolt with 7/16" nut holding oil dipstick
- Remove bolt with 7/16" nut holding transmission fluid fill pipe
- Remove bolt with 7/16" nut holding Oil fill tube
- (These last three could be left on and just remove the bracket with all three attached)
- Remove the air filter canister, (2) 7/16" clamp bolts and lots of duct tape on the top hose, and two snap fittings, this new filter was installed May-2016
- Disconnect rubber hose to CAC on left side and save the clamp
- Remove lower rear body panel of coach with (12) 1/4"x20 bolts (6 on each side) I had to cut 3 of the bolts with Sawsall due to corrosion. I replaced all of these with galvanized bolts, washers, lock washers & nuts.
- Remove the dipstick holder bracket, top nut on stud and bottom on 3/4" main bolt on right at the top of the radiator mount rod. (this is the one that could be removed with the three tubes left attached). The main rod bolt will need two wrenches and needs to be done by feel.
- Vacuum up the mouse crap in closet and behind the drawers
- Drain Radiator fluid using the petcock on the lower right corner of the radiator, ~8 gallons
- Pull off the hoses from power steering fluid tank and drain in a bucket, ~4 qts, then plug the hoses to keep them from dripping. I discarded this fluid and got new Dexron III ATF (1 gallon)
- Remove left side main 3/4" bolt on the end of the mount rod. This will take 2 wrenches and is hard to get to but easier than the right one.
- Disconnect left main radiator hose at radiator (easy to get too after air filter is gone)
- Remove (4) 9/16" bolts on the (2) bottom radiator mounts. You do not need to remove the nuts on the vertical studs.
- Disconnect large upper radiator hose from the engine at thermostat housing using the access in the bedroom, ( I had to cut the clamp off with a Dremmel cutting wheel due to corrosion. Also remove tie wraps holding wire to this hose). This is much easier than trying to disconnect the hose from the radiator.
- Disconnect charge hose at inlet of engine. Again much easier than trying to remove it from the CAC on the right side.
- Disconnect electrical connector at rear of coolant reservoir through closet and bedroom access
- Disconnect smaller coolant hose (1") from the thermostat housing that goes to the back of the coolant reservoir
- Remove (3) bolts from top of fan shroud (not really needed at this time)
- Disconnect the connector to the Trailer hitch plug with red clip to get it out of the way
- LIFT OUT THE RADIATOR ASSEMBLY BY ANGLING IT SLIGHTLY TO THE RIGHT. It is heavy and very dirty. Two people to lift it and one to guide out hoses from inside bedroom will help.
- DISASSEMBLE THE RADIATOR ASSEMBLY TO GET THE RADIATOR & CAC APART
- Remove coolant reservoir tank with (4) 9/16" bolts leaving two hoses attached that go to top left corner of radiator and overflow hose
- Disconnect upper radiator hose on right side, (had to cut the clamp)
- Remove charge hose from CAC on right side with one clamp
- Remove plastic fan shroud from radiator frame, (8) self tap bolts (4 top and 4 bottom) and (4) bolts with rib washers on the sides
- Remove CAC with 2 bolts each side
- Remove (8) long bolts at each corner of radiator through frame (4 on left are smaller bolts that go through sleeves, and 4 on right are larger with no sleeves)
- Remove 4 radiator frame brackets on all four sides from radiator (clean & wire brush off rust and paint)
- Remove inner shroud piece from engine with the other (3) bolts on the bottom (3 top bolts were removed earlier)
- Take the CAC to Skinner Radiator service for testing and repair (It was leaking on both ends, they steam clean and epoxy the ends. This piece is very expensive to replace ($1700)
- Order new radiator same as old one with plastic tanks from Skinner ($750). I had them pressure test the replacement radiator to make sure it was good after they received it.
- Remove serpentine belt and get new one from NAPA, (Gates belt)
- Clean dust and grime around fan. It was caked pretty bad
- Install new serpentine belt to check fit - ok
- Pick up new radiator & repaired CAC at Skinner $1250 (included $200 shipping)
- Wire brush with Dewalt grinder the four radiator frame brackets and prime paint them.
- Get more primer and finish painting brackets with primer and let dry
- Remove water pump V belt and check pump & tensioner bearings, all seem OK
- Paint the (4) radiator brackets with Black High Performance Enamel
AT THIS POINT I DECIDED TO REPLACE ALL THE BEARINGS, ALL THE HOSES & CLAMPS, THE CROSSOVER PIPE, AND THE WATER PUMP (NEW), EVEN THOUGH THEY SHOWED NO ISSUES, THE TWO THERMOSTATS HAD BEEN REPLACE JUST A FEW WEEKS EARLIER
- Assemble the rad assembly using anti-seize on bolts & locking nuts, (larger bolts on right without washers, smaller bolts on left with washers over slotted holes), tighten only snug only so they can handle expansion movement
- Flush out the coolant fluid reservoir multiple times to remove gunk settle at bottom
- Make list of all hoses and crossover pipe needed for water pump replacement
- Remove (6) long bolts in fan hub
- Remove the fan after a bit of hammering to loosen it from the hub
- Remove the aluminum extension after a bit of hammering to loosen it
- Oil the 4 hex flat head bolts on the fan hub and find hex key on 3/8" drive to fit
- Remove the water pump tensioner pulley and press out 2 identical bearings
- Remove idler for serpentine belt
- Remove the bearing caps on the serpentine tensioner idler (notice O ring)
- Remove (4) Allen head flat bolts after oiling and tapping, use center punch to free two of them
- Remove the pulley from the hub (wire brush off rust and paint)
- Remove (3) 1/2" bolts on the bearing retainer collar (single bolt is on top)
- Remove (4) 1/2" bolts holding the entire hub onto the multi hole mount bracket and remove hub
- Remove two bolts through the round retainer plate on the inside of the hub
- Press out the shaft from the bearing, then the leftover race off the shaft
- Press out the bearing from the housing
- Remove hose clamps from hose to trans cooler by cutting with a Dremmel cutting wheel, and remove shaped hose, drain more coolant
- Remove hose clamps from hose from trans cooler to crossover pipe by cutting with a dremmel and remove elbow hose, drain more coolant
- Remove hose clamps from hose from crossover pipe to water pump by cutting with a dremmel
- Cut lower hose clamp on short hose above water pump to thermostat housing (special silicone hose which I did not replace or remove from thermostat housing)
- Get numbers of all bearings
- (2) serpentine idler bearings, 6203LAX30 from Motion Industries ($11.96ea)
- (2) Serpentine tensioner bearings, 6203LAX30 from Motion Industries ($11.96ea)
- (2) V-belt tensioner bearings, 156-1871 from Caterpillar($14.01 ea)
- (1) Fan hub bearing, 307-9798, 200-2282 from Motion Ind (JRM3939 is 39x68x37), ($110.35)
- Remove crossover pipe with (2) 7/16" bolts in clamps
- Disconnect slobber tube with (1 7/16" bolt with strap
- Disconnect A/C pump with (2) 16mm bolts on the bottom pivot(front shorter), and (1) 16mm bolt on top (hang it out of the way with a bungee)
- remove A/C pivot bracket with (4) 1/2" bolts through bracket to gain access to WP bolts
- Disconnect 7/8" AN fitting on top to the air compressor
- Remove water pump with (4) 9/16" bolts, gather 2 O rings on front holes
- Wire brush oil pan with Dewalt
- paint oil pan until spray can takes a shit
- Home to order WP idler bearings and seal kit from Cat Ohio
- Remove snap ring and press out bearings from serpentine idler pulley
- Remove snap ring and press out bearings from serpentine tensioner pulley
- Remove snap ring and press out bearings from water pump tensioner pulley
- Try to order the fan hub bearing from Gregory Pool, leave message
- Call Keith Holden at Bearing Locator 800-409-3632, ext 7021 need outer race number
- Call Motion Industries to find the (4) 6203 bearings and the JRM3939 bearing and order
- Pick up hoses from FYDA (one missing)
- check out parts for correctness
- move two hangers to the new crossover pipe
- install air hose and water hose on radiator assembly
- install coolant tank on radiator assembly
- make list of all clamps needed and get them with Prestone ELC antifreeze, distilled water, Shell Rotella T6
- wire brush and paint idler and tensioner brackets & pulleys
- Pick up new water pump & bearings & seal kit from CAT
- Pick up bearings from Motion Industries
- Press in (6) bearings in idlers and 1 bearing in fan hub
- Move fittings from old to new water pump
- Install water pump on engine with new O rings
- mount AC pump & bracket
- Mount V belt tensioner and install V belt
- mount idlers & tensioner and install serpentine belt
- finish painting the oil pan with new Hi temp paint
- Pick up the last hose at FYDA
- Kevin comes to help with these installs
- install fan and front fan shroud
- install crossover pipe, all hoses and new clamps
- slide in the radiator assembly (went in quite nicely and everything lined up)
- connect all hoses paying attention to clamp position
- had to loosen and slide CAC hose closer to the engine inlet for proper mount clearance
- connect left CAC and radiator hoses
- install the air filter
- install dipstick & fill ports
- fill radiator reservoir with 4 gal distilled water, then 4 gallons Prestone, watching for leaks
- reattach the power steering hoses to reservoir and fill with 1 gallon Dexron III ATF
- Install the fuel filter with bracket
- check everything and start her up
- small leak on 1" hose from coolant reservoir, reposition and tighten
- drain oil and refill with Rotella T6 15w40, 63700 miles
- bolt in the 3 brackets with the rubber flaps and attach the flaps
- install the replacement slide topper cover
- put the bedroom back together
- take for test drive to Flying J and dump takes
- fill fuel tank at Marathon
- remove access panels in bedroom to check for leaks
- top up the radiator coolant reservoir with 1 gallon mixed
- tighten all hose clamps after initial test run, some will leak
- install stone guard
- attach double sock over slobber tube and reattach
- reinstall the bedroom access panels
- install leftover bracket to top of radiator that I had forgot
- install rear lower body panel with (12) galvanized 1/4x20 bolts
- install lower grate with fiberglass repairs
- install upper grate with screws
- Kev & I take it for another test drive
- connect it up to the InTech trailer
- New radiator & repair CAC, $1224
- new water pump from Caterpillar with seal kit, ($528.41)
- hose from lower radiator to transmission cooler (001F/05-23900-000), $77.13
- hose from transmission cooler to crossover pipe (001F/05-16062-047), $26.23
- the crossover pipe that goes from transmission cooler to water pump (001F/A05-21327-000), $111.14
- hose from crossover pipe to bottom of water pump (001F/05-16281-000), $14,82
- hose from top of water pump to thermostat (regulator) housing (001K/7E0759), $4.85)
- hose from thermostat (regulator) housing to upper radiator (001F/05-23974-000), 123.51
- hose from top of water pump to coolant reservoir tank (1.0" ID hose 4')
- hose from top corner of radiator to coolant reservoir tank
- hose from radiator coolant reservoir tank to overflow
- hose from crossover pipe to shutoff valve (to front heater)
- radiator fan hub bearing
- Water Pump tensioner bearing
- Water Pump seal kit
- New water pump, in on Wed morning
- Serpentine idler AND tensioner bearings
- Prestone ELC antifreeze concentrate & distilled water
- power steering fluid, Dexron III atf
- Rotella T6, 15w40
- Stainless Steel nice hose clamps from NAPA
After this repair we took the Discovery pulling the InTech stacker trailer to Road American and back (1000 miles). The temperature gauge never moved from the N in NORMAL regardless of speed or load.
|GREAT FUN AT MID OHIO||Monday, September 7, 2020|
|OVR Sprints at Mid Ohio Regional Races
We decided to take the FP#73 car to the OVR Sprints regional race weekend at Mid Oho to make sure all the gremlins were exorcised from the car before the Runoffs next month. We also needed to test a new set of tires that Hoosier made especially for us, and the Tirelief valves on our Advanti wheels with the current tires.
Because the Discovery RV was still being repaired we put the car and the Yamaha Cart on the Featherlite and all the tools, tires and spares in the Excursion and drove it up to Mid Ohio early Saturday morning. We really wanted the Yamaha because Carrie & the kids were coming to see daddy race. We also decided to rent one of the garages since we did not have the RV and had to leave the car there unattended overnight. The garage turned out to be very nice for working on the car and for having a place to corral the kids when they were there.
The first session was qualifying at 9:30 on a gorgeous day on the club course. We put on the new Hoosier tires on our Enkei wheels and tempered them while capturing the overall pole with a time of 1:41.802, 3 seconds faster than overall second place. The car ran very well but the brakes were not working properly. We put the car up on stands, took off the used Carbotec pads and reinstalled the new Carbotec pads. Then we installed the Advanti wheels with the Tirelief valves and the current tires for the Saturday race. Carrie & the kids arrived right after that session and we went into Lexington for lunch at Bucks Bar & Grill. Although we had a little problem with the bees outside it was a gorgeous day.
We started the Saturday 12 lap race on the pole and promptly ran away from the rest of the pack. Kevin loved the Tirelief valves which kept the pressure in the tires at the optimum level immediately at the start and throughout the entire race. On the third lap he turned his best lap ever on that course with a 1:38.092, just a couple tenths slower than the current track record of 1:37.815 set 22 years ago by Joe Huffaker. On the fourth lap as he entered Thunder Valley the AEM computer told him he was 0.5 seconds faster than his best lap. That meant he would beat the track record by at least a third of a second if he just finished the last few turns properly. Just then he came up on his first lapper car, a very slow ITC car. Sure enough the guy blocked Kevin in the carousel turn to ruin the lap. From then on Kevin hit a continuous stream of lapper cars to slow him down. On the last lap Kevin felt the front left wheel going down and pulled it off the track. That valve apparently was leaking. We finished the race 16th and even though Kevin lapped both the of the other two FP cars in the race he finished 3rd in FP.
Carrie & the kids left for home while Kevin and I tried to figure out the Tirelief valves. We guessed that the install was not proper on at least two of the valves so we took those wheels back to the shop with us for repair. We re-tapped and mounted the valves, and replaced the bad tire and everything looked good.
Sunday morning we met at the shop again and drove up to the track by 8am. We mounted the repaired wheels on the right side and took her out for the Sunday morning qualifying 10 lap race. The Sunday races were to be on the Pro course so we would not have another opportunity to take down the track record on the Club course. We already own the track record on the Pro course with a 1:35.934. Once again Kevin loved that the tires were at optimum pressure at the start of the race. Kevin had to start 16th because of not finishing the race on Saturday but he made up those spots very quickly. Because of an accident they black flagged the race and brought everyone into the pits while they removed the damaged car and cleanup up the track. When they let the cars out of the pit to continue the race they just said go with no yellow flags or no green flags so apparently it was green immediately - very bizarre!! In any case Kevin passed all of the cars to take the lead and win overall first place and post a 1:37.765. He did however notice the car was not handling correctly at the end of the race. Sure enough the left rear tire had lost some air but not enough to put us out of the race. Apparently we had some more repair to do on the other Tirelief valves.
Just before lunch Sheryl & Grandma brought Walter, Cora & Edwin to the track in the Odyseey. They went to the essess to enjoy the end of a race and have a picnic lunch while daddy & poppop got the car ready for the afternoon race. We installed the new experimental tires from Hoosier which we needed to test in the last race. We noticed 4 instances in the data log where the fuel pressure dropped very low for a couple seconds. It also popped up the red alarm screen a couple times during the race. Since the fuel pump had been in the car for 5 years we decided to install the spare just in case the pump was starting to go bad. We grabbed a quick lunch and then drove the cart over to the essess to retrieve the kids and go for a ride. After riding around the paddock we went back to the garage to install the 4 wheels and take the car off the stands. We saved those jobs since the kids love to help. They help lift the wheels in place or hold the lug nuts, and they pull the jack stands away from the car after we jack it up.
We started on pole and again drove away from the rest of the field. Kevin came close to his track record with a 1:36.350 best lap. After that he slowed down some and just finished the 13 lap race. We were very happy to see everything run so well for the entire race. The tires did well but Kevin already missed having the tires up to pressure immediate at the start of the race.
It was a super gorgeous weekend, we identified and fixed a few problems with the car, and we had family our three newest crew members there to help us out. What could be better than that?
|Still Havent Finished a Race at Road Am||Monday, August 17, 2020|
|Having no laps here at the Sprints due to a blown engine we had to come back to Road America for this race to get some laps and to continue to work through any issues that may still be in the car before the Runoffs race here in October.
Since the RV is currently out of commission due to a clogged radiator causing cooling issues, we decided to go old school. We loaded up all the tires inside the race car and strapped it on the Featherlite along with the Honda Elite. We packed all of the needed spares and tools inside the Excursion. I drove up to the Lake House on Tuesday and Kevin drove the Excursion and Featherlite up to the track on Friday. I met him at the track Friday night and while waiting to get into the track we went into Elkhart Lake for a great outside dining meal at the Lake Street Cafe. We left the Excursion in the paddock alongside Joe Moser and the Dunns, and drove back to the Lake House for the night.
Saturday morning we drove back to the track and got everything unloaded. Since we were in group 7 we were not on track until 11am for our qualifying session. Kevin took her out and set a 2:37.77 on his second lap at speed. On the third lap the car died when he drove over the berm in turn eight. We found a blown fuse that fed the Race Energy module. Not knowing why it blew we made a few small wiring changes to take some load off the RE and replaced the fuse. His time held up for the FP pole and third overall, over a second faster than Ken Kannard in second place in FP. From those few laps we made adjustments to the rev limiter and the shift lights on the dash. We also found the new calibrations on the temp sensors were perfect.
The Saturday race was at 4:45pm. On the first lap after the green flag as he was pulling away from Ken Kannard when the fuse blew again after driving over the berm in turn six. He coasted down to turn eight where they pulled him to the motorcycle turnout to wait for the end of the race. Now we knew something was going on with the Race Energy. First we completely stripped out the wire feeding the RE to make sure it did not have a skinned spot that was grounding out and causing the blown fuses. We called and talked with Jim Hargrove who designed and built the RE to discuss ways to troubleshoot this problem. We removed the 30amp fuse which was unneeded and buttoned up the car for the night.
We had planned on hitting one of the many great Wisconsin Supper Clubs Saturday evening but because of working on the car we did not end up leaving until like 8pm. So Taco Bell here we come, and they would not let us come in so we had to eat in the car.
Sunday morning Lyle came to the Lake House at 645 and we drove back to the track. We only got there just in time to make and install a jumper over the kill switch. We knew from past experience that the RE loves to blow fuses when you turn the kill switch on and off quickly since our tuner has done that several times. We also had heard that the Emergency kill switches are notorious about going bad after several years and some people had even told us they replace them every year. Ours was like ten years old and apparently was cutting out momentarily when the car hit a good bump. Jumpering out the switch should not only tell us if that was the problem, but give us the best chance of running well so we could get in as many laps as possible.
Kevin took her out and ended up getting four hot laps in the fifteen minute session with no fuse issues. On just his 2nd hot lap he turned in a 1:33.156 which was very close to his fastest lap at Road America ever 1:33.00. In his 4th lap the predictive lap timer on the AEM CD-7 said he was up by 0.5 seconds until he got help up by slower traffic. It looked like we had the problem solved and we were ready for the 40 minute race later that day.
Since we had only gotten a total of 6 hot laps all weekend we decided to leave the tires on that we had tempered last year at the Runoffs at VIR. They showed virtually no wear and were still in great shape. At 3:10 we started the race on pole but 4th overall behind three EP cars. Ken was in second but arrived late to grid so started way at the back. Kevin stayed with the EP cars and passed one of them for 3rd overall and was way out in front of the other FP cars. On lap #3 after getting through turn 5 he felt the car was not right. He made it through turn 6 but when he got to turn 7 (right hander) the car spun due to a flat left front tire. He coasted down to turn eight and pulled it off the track on a service road. He radioed to me and I brought a tire and tools to him where we changed the tire and drove it back to paddock. The FP race was won by Chuck Mathis in his VW, 2nd was Mike Gnadt in his MG Midget, and third was Mark Weber in his Miata.
Even though we only completed 6 hot laps it did not feel like a total bust weekend. We found and solved several problems with the car and made some nice adjustments. AND, our driver drove great. With the just so few laps he was driving close to his best ever laps. Now we just have to figure out the tire problem...
|Great WIN at Mid Ohio||Tuesday, July 21, 2020|
|After not being able to test the car at any test & tune events in Spring, then having a transmission go bad in St Louis, then having a blown engine at the June Sprints, we really needed to have a good showing this weekend.
I took the car with the new engine to SoMo to have the new engine check ed out and tuned. Kevin stopped in while he was working on the phone and laptop. We were both very pleased with the results.
I got to the shop early to finish a few things on the car and get the trailer and RV ready for the weekend. Just after noon Kevin called to tell me that he found out there was no twilight test & tune scheduled for tonight. I spent some more time looking at the program and display while waiting for Kevin to come to help load the few remaining items. We drove out on a nice day with hopes that the new thermostats would fix the overheating problems on the Discovery RV – NOPE. It was overheating probably worse than before. We just slowed down and make it fine to Lexington. Since we had to make reserved times to go to registration we had an hour to kill so we stopped at the new-ish restaurant just as you are coming into Lexington from I71 called Local 97. The service was great and the food was great too. We will definitely be back here, especially since out favorite Mexican place closed up. We were one of the last rigs to pull in but there was still plenty of room so we pulled in the upper paddock along the west fence so there would be a minimum of traffic to worry about when the kids were there.
We got up early on a nice day. Our test session was at 9 am. Kevin took her out with the new engine. He finally got to push the start/finish button on the dash as he crossed the line to set the position for the timing software in the AEM CD-7L. It worked fantastic. He got all the timing information he could ask for. We did find a few fixes needed on the display but they were minor. He ran a few laps in the 1:40s which he was happy with. I thought that was pretty slow until I realized that we were running the club course which adds in the turns before the keyhole.
That afternoon we had our first official qualifying session. They gridded everyone based on the times from the morning test session. We were first and Chima was second. He is a very smart driver so he followed Kevin and got a tow several times which gave him the second fastest lap time behind Kevin.
That evening we cooked sausages and burgers on the grill with Joe Moser and had a great evening with nothing to do on the car except add fuel and rotate tires– very nice.
At 9 am we had another qualifying session but it was even hotter than on Friday so we did not expect anyone to go faster. We put on a new set of Hoosiers to temper them for use at the Cat National at Road America next month. As expected some cars went a bit faster but the gird didn’t significantly change.
Carrie brought up Walter & the twins to see daddy race, to see that RV, and for Yamaha golf cart rides. We put in the cool suit to keep Kevin cool and it worked pretty well. We were not sure that the battery would finish the race with that added load but it did just fine. Kevin started on the pole but Chima jumped the start (as any seasoned driver would) and got past Kevin in turn one but Kevin stayed in there and passed him back. Kevin lead for 5 laps before Chima passed Kevin at the end of the back straight with a good draft off the Integra. Kevin said he made a mistake or two which opened the door for Craig to take the lead. Chima then drove a error free race to hold on for the win. Kevin and I were both surprised that not only did the tires stay good on the Lotus but that it ran all 16 laps with no problem. Can’t remember the last time we saw a Lotus 7 do that.
Saturday evening we very much enjoyed another evening with nothing to do to the car. However, as we were rotating tires and checking everything, Kevin found the right rear wheel bearing was pretty loose so we replaced it. That probably contributed to making the rear of the car a bit loose. We checked the toe in on front and back and they were both perfect.
Our Hoosier upper Tour race was Sunday morning at 9:20. It was not super hot but the humidity was very near 100%. We again employed the cool suit but we did not have as many frozen water bottles as we needed to last through a 35 minute race. Kevin started on overall pole again but this time he jumped the start at the same time Chima jumped the start so he beat him into turn one and pulled out a nice couple car lead. He found his groove fairly quickly and never lost it. Chima chased Kevin in second place from a several car lengths back but never came close enough to attempt a pass. Finally after 10 laps the Lotus broke as we expected it to, but before it did, it turned in a slightly faster lap time than Kevin (.02 seconds) by getting a good pull around the track from Kevin. Next was Charlie Campbell. He tried his best to catch Kevin, especially when Kevin got loose in turn one. Fortunately Kevins lead was enough to not let Charlie get close enough to attempt a pass.
At impound Kevin was really spent by the heat and needed a lot of water and cold towels to cool him off. The babies were all at the podium to cheer for daddy.
|Not Great At June Sprints||Sunday, June 14, 2020|
|We have never had good luck at the Sprints and this year was no exception. It was only our second time out with the car due to the COVID-19 crap and we changed TONS of stuff on the car so we kind of expected some problems but not this.
I met Kevin at the shop at 6am to finish loading the car onto the InTech trailer with the car, Scooter, tools, and Yamaha cart. He took the rig to his house to pick up the family while I went home to get cleaned up and pick up Dede. We met Sheryl at Kevinâ€™s house about 10am and we all left for Oshkosh. It was a hot day (>90degrees) and a strong wind from the East. The RV kept going up to the hot area and tossing errors. Slowing down didnâ€™t help as much as it did two weeks ago. Finally Kevin turned off the engine A/C, started the generator and the house A/C, and slowed down to 65 which cooled it off. We went through some rain after Chicago. We ordered pizza from ZaRonis Pizza on Jackson which arrived at the Lake House the same time we did.
I cut the grass and played with the kids while Kevin worked â€śfrom homeâ€ť.
It was a nice day so we decided to put the dock in after Kev finished some phone meetings while the kids watched from the deck. First Ken Brusda came over with his backhoe to move the big rocks that were in the way of the dock. Kevin & I put in the dock, leveled it, and installed the stairs, then dragged the jetski lift in the water. We didnâ€™t have time to install the panels on the dock. Kev & I drove the race rig to RA and parked it at turn five and plugged in to our favorite receptacle. We spent a bunch of time on the damn splitter mount.
We got up early on a nice day. Our qualifying was at 9 am. We completed one warm up lap and on the second lap the engine blew up. Carrie had just arrived before the session with the kids. We played with the kids, watch some sessions, had lunch. I took the Sequoia back to the lake house with the kids so Kev & Carrie could spend the night at the track with friends and stay in the RV. Shane & Delanie drove up to the Lake House tp spend the week.
I drove the Sequoia with the 3 kids and Sheryl & Dede drove my CR-V with Delanie up to the track about 930. We all took Yamaha cart rides, had lunch and watched some races. Everybody left about 130 and Kev & I watched the STL race that Joey won and the Prod race that was won by Chipworth in the new Lotus S7. Eric was punted from the track by Sam Halkias and Eric protested. We packed up and drove the rig back to the Lake House.
Kevin, Shane & I finished putting on the dock panels, put oil back in the boat and put it in the water. The FP race was great. Chipworth DNS but the rest of the guys fought it out pretty good with Eric coming out on top.
We all had more fun at the Lake House.
Kev & Carrie drive the rig home with the kids. The Discovery overheating problem seemed to get worse. It took 9 hours to get home because of having to drive slowly. Kevin and Sheryl took the rig to the shop and put everything away.
|Test Day at World Wide Technology Raceway||Saturday, May 30, 2020|
|Since we were not allowed to test the car at any time during this Wuhan virus crap, we had to go to this race at St Louis just to see if the car would run. We changed more stuff on the car than you could shake a stick at. Most notably we replaced the entire dash and display, and the Engine Management System with the newest AEM equipment. Of course we also rebuilt the head on the weak engine that we ran at the Runoffs and it dynoed very well. We signed up for the test day on Friday and the car ran OK for the first several test sessions after we managed to get registered and buy race fuel. After lunch the transmission started to act up. It was hard to get into any gear and sometimes it was a flip of the coin as to what gear it was going into. We actually zinged the engine a couple times when it went into 3rd on the way to 5th. We had to drop out of the race and take it home. Later we found the shift holder in the transmission had come loose due to two of the three mount bolts completely coming out and the third was loose. Fortunately the bolts were caught on the magnet in the bottom of the case. We bought a new aftermarket shift holder and locktited the bolts this time. It shifted better than after that.
Oh yeah, this was the first trip with our new InTech stacker trailer and we noticed the RV was overheating just a couple times at high speeds.
|READY FOR A GREAT YEAR||Friday, January 31, 2020|
|After a year where most everything went wrong we think we have all of the Gremlins exorsised from the car. We have completed the install of the new AEM Infinity EMS along with the AEM CD-7L color dash display and logger, and the Vehicle Dynamics Module. The new engine will completed and dynoed on Feb 10. We are not sure just when we will take the car out for the first time but it will be as soon as our schedules will allow.|