Sunday, June 7, 2009

Back from New Orleans Race... early :(

Yea... not good news at all. But alas... let's start at the last update.

Car was running well and all looked good prior to departure. "New" engine was running a lot smoother then the old motor and seemed to have a bit more power. We loaded up and headed out on our 8+ hour drive.

We arrived Thursday evening and got the track with our other team (Team ClubGP). Rented an RV spot so we had power and water, etc. and enough room for both our teams to park our trailers, the cars, etc (thanks Adam). We unloaded everything Friday morning and got setup for the test day (also tech day).

Brick and I did a few laps each in the car, and everything felt pretty good (although I still had some issues shifting into 4th w/ the trans linkage... but Brick didn't have any problems). We went through tech and made it through with out too much hastle (being through it before helped alot!).

Matt and Al showed up and did a few laps each as well. Then Brick took it back out for a few more laps, and after only a couple, came back into the pit with a bad sounding rattle coming from under the hood.

We pulled the valve cover, nothing obvious. Pulled the plugs... all looks fine (probably running just a little lean). So, decided to drop the lower cross supports and the oil pan. Well... there is our problem. Seems we lost a bearing with all those bits in there :(

So... here we are, the night before the 2 day race starts... done. No luck on finding and swapping another motor in time, so we ended up packing up Saturday morning, watching our other friends in Team ClubGP for a bit, and limping home to lick our wounds (and lighter wallets).

Good news for Team ClubGP... they not only finished the race (after using JB Weld to fix their motor!), they ended up with 5th place, and a $1K prize from the judges.

I have pictures here and here.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

We leave Thurs AM!

Well, tonight we will be organizing items for packing, and then pack up the trailer tomorrow in preparation for leaving Thursday morning on the ~8 hour drive to the Lemons race! See some of you there!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Less than 2 weeks!

Car is ready mechanically... just a few little items left to do, like our new hood graphics, change our car number, etc

Had a meeting yesterday with the ClubGP Team (we are convoying and sharing tools/pit) to try and get our schedule, packing list, etc organized. Made progress on it... but more planning required!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Progress and Problems

Sorry again for not keeping up with the updates here!

We got the new seat and race harness mounted and installed, and finished up with some little items with the engine swap. Dropped the car to do it's first drive under load since the motor swap, and the car wouldn't move. Forgot about a little issue we had at the last race at the end of our racing. For some reason, the car wouldn't move very easilly going backwards... driving OR pushing.

Well, after some research Thursday night, we figured out the problem. As odd as it is, the driver side bearing/hub seems to have moved about 1/4" in on the knuckle. This was causing the rotor to drag (and wear badly) on the brake caliper bracket and part of the knuckle assembly.

Brick hit the salvage yard on Friday and picked up a driver side complete knuckle assembly (with bearing, hub, etc), a caliper bracket, and I ordered a new rotor. At today's work day we seemed to have all the parts needed to fix the problem.... or so we thought.

We swapped the new complete knuckle about an hour before the rotor was to arrive at the parts store. We tried putting the axle nut on, and quickly realized that the one we picked up (had to replace due to rounding off of the original one) was the wrong size! So.... I called the local dealer (before noon) and got a new one on order ($2.05), but it won't be here until Tuesday :(

So... things are looking good, but as always... things creep up and getcha sometimes.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

More Progress!

I'm a bit behind on Blog updates, sorry. Had a few more work days since we pulled the motor.

Brick and I dropped off the trans downtown to have them check it out and possibly replace the synchro's. Apparently it wasn't needed, and they fixed a few minor settings inside and said all should be well.

Then we spent quite a bit of time finding items that we needed to move between the old motor and the Camry motor we were putting in. A lot more parts needed to be swapped then you would think, but all were taken care of.

Big thanks to Brick for all his work (many times by himself) on getting the motor into the car and finishing up other items needed to get it running.

It runs! Seems like we may have a vacuum leak somewhere, but otherwise running smooth.

Old motor was filled with water when we cracked it open

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Work has resumed!

The new team started work on the car today. We pulled the header & AC compressor off the "new" motor since we don't need AC, and the header was for the Camry.

We then started pulling everything we needed to in order to pull the old motor out of the car. We started about 10:30am and just finished up at about 2:15pm. Engine is out!

Next on our list is removing the transmission and then swapping required parts between the motors.

Some pictures are below, and more are here.


Thursday, March 5, 2009

Back from the Race!

A little delayed... but been swamped since getting back!

Well, the race was definitely fun, but neither our team or our other team finished the race. Our other team threw a rod about 1.5 hours before race end on Day 1. Our car started over heating just before that.

Oil was good and we didn't see any leaking fluids... but each time we checked the radiator, it was just about dry. Twice we saw temps on the block of almost 600 degrees, and the aluminum head 400 degrees (sigh). We called it a day about 20 minutes before race end on Day 1.

It was determined that the head gasket was toast, and at this point we may have a cracked head as well. In the morning of Day 2, we figured we'd top off the fluids and try and get a few laps in. No such luck... We called it a day and the end of our race as well.

Here's a shot of me on the track... 3 wheels are better then 4 on the ground, right?

I have more pictures here, and even more of The Cursed car getting crushed here.

Looks like both teams have some work to do for the next race!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Pre-Race Day

Just a few small finish up items on the Car, and the big packing/loading day. Since we are part of a 2 Team group, we had 2 cars and all the related gear, tools, etc to load up. A full day just doing that!

A few pics of our car as it sat this afternoon...

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Work Day 11

Today (Sunday) was another good work day. We started at 1pm and just finished up about 8pm.

We did some more road testing and found a small leak in the passenger side front brake line, so we decided to replace both front brake lines. We also finished up the installation of our "brake ducts", and got the fire extinguisher purchased and installed.

We also started organizing some of the stuff we need to pack up to take with us to the race this week.

A few pictures are below ... More are here.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Work Day 10

Brick was able to pickup the tires we ordered on Thursday, so we mounted the tires on Friday. These will definitely be a great improvement :)

I also picked up a new bearing and some other odds and ends we needed on Friday as well.

Saturday we started around 9am. We removed the bearings from the knuckle, but found we needed to press a part out of it in order to install the new bearing, etc. Took the entire knuckle off and ran it up to a local machine shop to have it done and the new bearing installed. One look at the hub, and a little measurement, and it was determined that it needed to be replaced as well. Seems it's a dealer only part (~$180) and we can't have it until Tuesday at the latest. After some phone calls, we found an import salvage yard that had the complete knuckle with bearings, hub, ball joint, etc for only $40! So Brick and I ran out and picked it up. 2 hours of the day shot. Once back, it bolted right up and worked way better then the old unit.

After installing the axles, we moved on to the brakes. Re-bled the brakes to make sure all was well... and installed the new rotors and pads. Moved on to refilling the trans fluid, re-installing the oil pan and oil fluid, etc, etc.

Nate & Paavo also worked on installing the hinge and latch for the sunroof, so that is finally taken care of as well!

After some hair raising issues on trying to start the car for the first time (and a few more hours), the car started up and ran well! We took it out for a test drive and the power, brakes and clutch are 1000% better then before! At this point, it was 10:30pm, so we decided to call it a night.

Work Day 9

Sorry... hectic past 1.5 weeks or so. This update is for last weekends work. Brick and I were working Autorama on the weekend, but the rest of the team was able to make some good progress. The new rear seal was installed... and the turned flywheel and new clutch kit was installed and transmission was put back in.

We finished hooking all the linkage, etc up after Tuesday nights meeting. However, while putting the axles back in, etc we noticed that there was quite a bit of play in the passenger side axle (bearing or seat, etc).

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Work Day 8

Finally got some time to work on the car again today. Thuy, Brick and I finally got the transmission dropped and out of the car. Removed the pressure plate and clutch... what a mess. They were definitely "done" and ready to be replaced. Also got the flywheel off so we can get it turned this coming week.

The rear seal is leaking, and since it's fairly easy to do with the transmission out, we dropped the oil pan and can now pull the rear seal. We will pickup a new oil pan gasket, rear seal and gaskets, etc so we can do that before we put the new clutch in.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Work Day 7

Well, we were hoping to get the car good enough to take it to our test day tomorrow at MSR Cresson. We got most everything we needed done, however... the clutch is in fact done and needs to be replaced.

Items completed today:
  • Replaced relocated battery wiring with 4 gauge wire
  • Replaced connectors on alternator and checked charging circuit
  • Checked fuel pump, lines and wiring at the pump
  • Mounted "Wink" rear view mirror
  • Safety wired the rings for the hood/trunk pins
  • Re-installed dash gauges
  • Changed oil filter and oil
  • Flushed brake fluid and refilled
  • Bought and installed rear brake light
  • Replaced some of the clutch fluid and bled
Results from today:
  • Car started up first time! (Great considering all the work we did)
  • Brakes much better, but still bad. Front left wheel locks up very easilly. Once new rotors come in we will continue work on brake system.
  • Clutch is definitely slipping and needs to be replaced
  • Handling is pretty bad, but the rotted mismatched tires aren't helping that at all
A few pictures:

Work Day 6

This was work done Thursday...
  • Roll cage finished up
  • Passenger seat re-installed (for drive arounds/training on track)
  • Driver race seat installed
  • Racing harness installed
  • Kill switch completed and hood cut to allow access
  • Battery relocation completed

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Work Day 5

Another pretty productive day of work.
  • Front sway bar mid point bushings replaced (stocks were destroyed)
  • Bracket fabricated and installed to support fuse box where battery used to be
  • Air intake system completed and IAT relocated
  • More progress on master kill switch - bypass wiring for Alternator
  • Body modifications for drivers seat
  • Internal sheet metal of doors removed (for cage fit)
  • A good percentage of welds for the cage completed

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Work Day 4

Tonight's meeting was really a work day more then anything. Brick and I were already working on the car as people arrived, so we all just continued to work as each person showed up. Productive for sure.

Let's see if I can remember most of the things we got done...
  • Installed hood and trunk pins
  • Got most of the cage fitted in place
  • Cut and removed most of the dash
  • Cut more of the old cage donor car up (ready for someone to come take)
  • Removed sunroof assembly, complete w/ motor, etc. Opened up quite a bit of headroom.
  • Started battery relocation project
  • Swapped out bad rear struts (originals were toast)
  • Swapped out front shock inserts (originals worn out)
A few pictures below... and more here.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Work Day 3

Long day, but pretty productive. Thanks to Nate and Thuy for going and picking up our cage donor car, and Paavo for borrowing and bringing the cutting torch. Also a big thanks to my friend Bob who helped with a lot of the cutting and even borrowed a cutting rig from work for us when we ran out of gas!

We cut apart the donor car and recovered plenty of donor cage material. We removed both doors from the Celica and were able to test fit a few pieces of the cage in the car and it seems like we can make it work pretty well.

We also removed the blower assembly and heater coil assembly from under the dash as well. I also flushed the cooling system as well (currently dry).

A few pictures are below, with more here.
Donor as it arrived

Donor after we finished with it

Test fitting cage pieces

More of the cage pieces

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Thurs Eve Meeting & Work

Good meeting tonight everyone... we accomplished some needing things at the meeting and then went into working on the car.

First up was helping Nate push out and load up Car 1 so he could bring it to it's new "home" for future work for Team 1.

Then we jumped in and got our car into it's new home in the shop, and got a few things accomplished:
  • Remove rear side glass and rear window
  • Remove front bumper cover & lights
  • Remove tail lights and rear mid cover
  • Cut vent holes in rear mid cover for better air flow through car
  • Remove steering wheel airbag
We also got a decent work list put together for this coming Saturday's work day as well.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Work Day 2

This should really be called a mini-work day :)

Paavo came out and we started work on the car around 2pm, and just finished up about 4:30pm. Got the exhaust dropped and checked it all out, and dropped the muffler from the system. We also removed the front fender liners, did some clean up and relay/fuse replacements on the main relay/fuse center, etc. Measured the front left wheel/tire combo and it came in at 34 lbs. We will still need to weigh the passenger side soon as a comparison (different wheels).

A few pictures, with more here...

Monday, January 12, 2009

eLemonators were Accepted!

As most of you know... we have 2 teams. Team 1 was already accepted for the next race (Houston), but our team was not. We have been on the waiting list for a while now, and just got word tonight that we were finally accepted!

Of course... this means we have a lot of work to do in order to get Car 2 ready!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

1st Work Day

Nate, Paavo and I started stripping the new car today. Removed the seats, carpet, lower dash, center console, door panels, rear deck, headliner, side windows, power window motor and controls, etc.

Also started stripping some of the exterior: Removed motorized headlights, AC compressor, condenser, vacuum cruise control system, etc. Already fabricated a bracket for the re-use of one of the throttle control wires and it will be ready to be installed tomorrow.

Since the AC compressor was removed, we went and picked up a new shorter belt that was needed, and also a replacement power steering belt.

Quite a bit of work completed today in the 6+ hours or so the 3 of us worked on it. A few pictures are below, and more are here.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

'92 Toyota Celica GT Aquired!

Some team members are on their way back from Houston with our Team 2 (The eLemonators) car! It will need a lot of prep work, but we are ready for it!