A solo workday…

Posted November 2nd, 2008 by
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It was a cold and rainy day today while I worked solo on the Rice Rocket.  Seems the weather and other commitments kept the team pre-occupied today.

As a result, I didn’t get a lot done…

-Installed the rest of the nuts (8) on the bumpers
-Added a water bottle holder
-Re-adjusted and re-welded the window net
-Reinstalled the driver’s seat
-Straped down the TraqMate
-I zip tied the hell out of everything in the engine and passenger compartments
-Tightened the tachometer housing
-Checked and refilled the “seal expander” in the power steering pump

I took care of the radio communication problem earlier this week and got a Chatterbox GMRS-X1 PTT transceiver. Not the best, but the best our budget could handle. Most “real” racing communications systems START at $1000 and go up and that’s before you buy any “extra” radios.

The Chatterbox will work with any FRS/GMRS radio and although the one we used at the last “Arse-Freeze-Apolooza” was a little flaky, when it worked, it worked great and it’ll be better than the hand held “signage” some of the other teams will be using to communicate with their pit crews and it can be hard wired into our power system so we don’t have to worry about battery charging.

Car to pit communication has proven to be one of the keys to success for these events.  You find out when the race goes green even when you’re on the back of the track and when the car starts showing problems, sometimes the driver can’t see, but the grand stand can and it’ll make it easy for us to coordinate the driver changes.

New tires have arrived!

Posted October 28th, 2008 by
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Hankook Ventus RS-2’s in 225/45/15!

Hankook Ventus RS-2


Posted October 21st, 2008 by
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To the December 2008 24hrs of LeMons “Arse-Freeze-Apalooza” at Thunderhill!

The race is ON!

Another workday behind us…

Posted August 31st, 2008 by
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We got a little more done today, but our progress was hampered by what seemed the constant need to drive to OSH for a missing bolt or nut and the ensuing snack/beer “break” that had to happen at every one of these little “side trips”!

At least we got a few things done like installing the freebie front strut tower brace…

Unfortunately, the hood needed a little “massaging” so it would close after the strut tower bar was installed.  A little fun with the PLASMA CUTTER!

Oops! Looks like we used a little too much heat… 😀

We made a few adjustments to the window net to make it a little easier to exit in the “unlikely” (don’t tell anyone, that’s just what we tell our wives!) event of an accident.

After busting my knuckles on the roll cage every time I turned the steering wheel, I snuck into the neighbors garage and pulled the small diameter steering wheel off his blown 1500 hp ’69 Camaro! I got the “new” steering wheel installed and now there’s just enough clearance to keep the volume of knuckle related blood loss to a tolerable level!

Got the battery “nailed” down and wired in:

“NEW” Rules that apply to us…

Posted August 9th, 2008 by
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* 3.4.1: Neck Brace/Helmet Support.

I have a neck brace that everyone can use and if your helmet has HANS attachment points and my HANS fits, you can use that instead.

* 3.8.1: Brake Lights.

As soon as I order the new lights for my trailer, I’ll pull the old one’s off and we’ll mount those to the cross bar between the rear shock towers that I haven’t installed yet…

* 3.21: Open T-Tops and Convertibles.

I’m ordering a set of arm restraints from IOPort Racing this weekend.

* 3.23: Master Electrical Kill Switch.

I have an extra kill switch left over from Summit Racing that we can use for this.

* 5.3: Pit Communication.

We need to figure out what to do for radios. Ideally, a PTT radio with a helmet friendly microphone and speaker is the way to go. Some people have used FRS radios and other’s with unlimited voice plans have simply used their cell phones with either a blue-tooth or wired headset…

The longer I think about it, the more things get added to the To Do list!

Build Notes (July)

Posted July 28th, 2008 by
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Here’s the list of remaining todo’s:

-Install another battery shutoff switch as per the “new” rules
-Install the rest of the nuts (8) on the bumpers
-Replace the oil pump gasket
-Mount and wire the factory accessory gauges back in
-Add a water bottle holder
-Add a radio holder
-Add padding to every sharp metal within reach of the driver
-Install steering wheel
-Install arm restraints

-Check to see if Matt can fit in the seat

-Strap down the TraqMate
-Strap down all loose items in the engine compartment
-Adjust the seat bracket
-Tighten the oil pan
-Tighten the tachometer housing

-Check the power steering pump
-Check motor purr in the crank case
-Check scraping noise when turning right

If we have time:

-Install the passenger seat

The window net is IN!

Posted May 23rd, 2008 by
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The last item on the “Safety” list is done!

(Some?) Instrumentation and Data Logging are installed!

Posted May 13th, 2008 by
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We’ll, given we had completely removed the dashboard on our 280ZX, the more experienced Datsun drivers on the team decided it was probably a good idea to give those on the team unfamiliar with the sounds of a Datsun motor at full wail some kind of instrumentation!

Since we had already installed a battery quick disconnect into our makeshift dash, it was a simple matter to run to Radio Shack and pick up a couple of $4 fuse blocks to give us some switched power in the passenger compartment.

We “borrowed” a cheap, used universal tachometer from my drag racing neighbor to give some indication of what the engine is doing for our Datsun neophytes!

Notice our “faux” carbon fiber shift knob. When the feel of the stick in your hand means “oh! so much!”

We’ll probably break down and somehow wire in the factory water temp and oil pressure gauges…

Thanks to our friends at IOPortRacing.com for the video camera mount to document just how bad we really are and just so we can look like we know what we’re doing, we wired in our TraqMate GPS data acquisition system and GTech Pro RR accelerometer! We also mounted a spare base for our AMB transponder… Now you can monitor our progress at MyLaps.com

We’ve pretty much got everything wired in! Now all we have to do is figure out what to do with our dead power steering pump and what’s dragging on our brakes… Probably a siezed caliper… errr…

All we need to do now is nail down the wheel and tire situation. We have plenty of wheels and race tires already, but, unless Jay starts to allow Hoosier or Hankook racing slicks, nothing in our inventory is LeMons legal!  We’ll probably go with a set of Falken Azenis or Hankook Ventus RS-2’s appropriate for the SCCA’s STS class so we can run them for double duty when not LeMons racing.  If I see a set of rally tires… 😀

We want to run a number of Auto-X’s before the LeMons event so we can work out as many kinks in the car as possible and maybe use the car for some track days and maybe even a Rally Cross…

Build Notes (May)

Posted May 12th, 2008 by
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The AMB transponder and display are mounted and wired in. Also got the Traqmate data acquisition system mounted, powered up and connected to the tach signal wire.

My 1kw AC/DC inverter is dead, so that didn’t work. If anyone else has one they’re not using let me know. It’ll make it easier to power the camera if it can run off straight AC power rather than messing
with having to swap batteries.

I went ahead and mounted/wired the extra fuse block, so the car now has 8 fused circuits + the two CLA’s that came with their own in-line fuses for a total of 10 fused circuits… Why? Don’t ask why, just because!

The wiring looks pretty crazy right now, so it still needs cleaned up and wire loomed for abrasion protection from all the sharp metal edges.

Todo’s (May)

Posted May 12th, 2008 by
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Got the tach fused, wired and working with the “running” light.

Got a 4 circuit fuse block for $3 from RadioShack installed and I’ve got another 4 circuit fuse block if we need it.

Added 2 12v cigarette lighter adapters for the TraqMate Data Acquisition system and one other item if we need it. I plan to hardwire a spare 1000w AC/DC power inverter I’ve got hanging out in my garage.

Got the camera mount installed on the roll bar.

I plan to get the TraqMate and AMB transponder installed tomorrow.

Still need to weld in the mounts for the window net and then I’d say the car is ready for it’s maiden voyage.