I promised a life megaupdate a few days ago, and it seems it has finally been written! It's been a REALLY busy month and a half on my end, with constant travel, constant car work, and a decent bit of fun mixed in for good measure. I'll go ahead and warn you that this is going to be one hell of a long post, but I don't feel like making 5 different ones for all the random crap I'm going to cover.
You know those little things that you've been putting off fixing for months and months and months? Well I finally tackled one minor annoyance in my RX8 seeing as a lot of traveling was going to be happening in it. The AUX cable I had hooked up liked to get bent up and would usually end up with one channel or the other cutting out every 4 months or so requiring me to pull all that you see above and plug a new one into the back of the headunit, so I decided to fix it once and for all by putting a shorter, nicer cable to an 1/8in jack next to the ashtray so whenever a cable goes kaput I can just plug a new one in. Success!
That was immediately followed by my departure to Atlanta for the weekend. A friend of mine was having a birthday and someone gifted her 3 tickets to the Formula Drift event up there and she asked me to tag along. Success! So the three of us spent 7 hours in an RX8 to go watch tons of LS swapped cars go sideways really fast. While the drifting was impressive and definitely a lot of fun to watch(those things are louder than anything else I've personally heard on track), the support series going that weekend just so happened to the the Global Time Attack groups A and B and the Trans Am national series. Watching fully race prepped R35 GTRs and Audi R8s light up their brakes coming down the hill into turn 10A was quite the show, and the Trans Am cars(mostly C5/6 Corvettes) come ripping down the back straight going god knows how fast gave you goosebumps. I'd highly recommend going out to a weekend with multiclass racing as well as the drift stuff if you've ever considered it. Only downside was the constantly blasted EDM/pop that they played during the entire FD stuff.
After dropping off my friends once I got back in town from Atlanta, I went over to my buddies house with another RX8 that was having compression issues a while back and we started getting everything squared away for the rebuild. That turned into quite the adventure to say the least. We got everything clearanced and the new parts all in line to go together and decided to wait until the next day to actually start assembly because we were both beat. We spent the next afternoon going slow and making sure everything was as correct as it could be and were about to put the rear iron on(effectively sealing up the motor) and decided we needed a bit more light in the garage. His neighbor had some hanging florescent lights that would do the job nicely so he ran over to grab those, and while the neighbor was hanging them up one of the hooks slipped out of his hand. Down came the light, both bulbs broke and showered lots of little tiny glass shards all into the rear rotor of the engine(and the front rotor through the oil passages). At that point, it allllll had to come back apart. We spent a good 4 hours meticulously pulling it apart piece by piece and marking it all(the seals have to go in their correct spots once they've been clearanced) and cleaning all of it thoroughly to get any glass particles out. This sucked serious balls considering everything was coated in Vaseline and assembly lube. We actually ended up getting the motor completely assembled that night though, and I went over while he was at work to get the wiring and all on the block and dress it for installation.
(sorry for the sideways picture, Kinja ain't havin it today)
Had the thing all back together the next night, and zero luck on getting it started. The story behind this particular rebuild is that it was VERY experimental to begin with, the apex grooves in the rotors were out of spec and instead of buying new rotors, he decided he wanted to run 3mm seals(they're 2mm stock) in it to solve the issue. On older rotaries this was a common practice because it was fairly simple to machine the slots in the rotor to fit them and then it makes it all square again. On a RENESIS there isn't enough meat in the rotor to allow you to cut deep enough and wide enough to accept a 3mm seal used in the older rotaries, so the apex seals must be shortened as well as the grooves widened. Luckily my friend works at a machine shop and took care of cutting the rotors/apex seals/side seals and we got to try something that's never been done before(Atkins Rotary said they'd thought about it but never actually tried it). Needless to say, it didn't work to well because now we only have about 60psi of compression on both rotors and I guess there's a reason it usually isn't done that way. Oh well, you live and you learn. I'll make sure to keep Oppo updated on the future plans with that car.
The real reason I wanted the RX8 done so quickly was so I could get our Lemons car back in the garage and see what was up with the rear end after Barber. Before that race, I threw some 3.73 gears in the rear end and hit a few snags and by the time it was going back together it was too late to order parts for it. And it just so happened that the pinion depth spacers came out in about 6 pieces each, which meant that it was going back together without them. While turning it by hand that day I noticed that the tip of the pinion gear would make contact with the diff carrier if it were pushed as far as it would go into the housing, which by extension means, every time you go off throttle and load the gears the opposite way. As you can clearly see above, it did a wonderful job of self tolerancing and left a nice, shiny set of teeth in the diff carrier the entire way around. I'm honestly surprised that it held up through the whole weekend at Barber without too many issues. Bad part is that where the pin that holds the spider gears in got worn down too, it fused it with the diff carrier and no amount of hammering would get it loose. So it looks like the entire rear end is getting replaced since I can't get the axles out to get the diff out with it still in place. Fun times...
Next on the list of things to do was to get started tuning my friends L28E+T Datsun 280zx that you might have seen a post or two about before. He was finally through the break-in period and most of the mechanical issues had been sorted out, so it was time to make the thing stop running pig rich. This was my first actual attempt at tuning anything, I have done quite a bit of research over the years and was very confident going into it, I don't recommend you try that at home. We went out and drove around town for a while while I got the idle/cruise/on vacuum parts of the map sorted out and had it running quite well. No more hesitation, not burning our eyes at stop lights anymore. Solid 14.6-15.1:1 AFRs at cruise and idle, dropping into the lower 14:1s at light throttle. After getting that sorted out, we decided it was running well enough to start tuning it on boost a bit. Got everything sorted out up to about 5psi and 4k rpm. After that we needed somewhere we could really get on it. Did I mention that the AFR reported to TunerStudio was wrong so I couldn't accurately datalog? Everything I was doing was on the fly and by me watching the wideband, boost guage, and tachometer. Anyways, we decide to head out to the boonies and about 40 minutes away from the house he goes to pass a semi and downshifts into 3rd gear, which should have put us around 5k rpm. It immediately starts breaking up like a bad misfire and no power, so he whips back in behind the semi and we quickly check all the gauges. Nothing seemed wrong so we say screw it and wait for open road. Once there we did a few 3rd gear pulls up to 4500 rpm or so with full boost and my tuning looks like it's holding up. Next comes a 4th gear pull all the way to redline so I can see what it's doing up top. Get to 5k rpm at full boost and we hear a loud pop and it immediately sounds like we have a HUGE exhaust leak and the car won't build boost anymore. After pulling over, realizing we have no tools, and poking around a little bit we can't find anything obviously wrong and it was still running fine except for a little power loss and the REALLY FREAKING LOUD exhaust leak sound. So we limp it the hour drive home with our ears ringing the whole way. Pulled the manifolds and can't didn't find anything wrong there, tested compression and found that cyl1 had exactly 0, while the rest were fine. Hmmm. After a bit of research it would seem that the 33 year old OEM valve springs sometimes don't like extra power in those motors and what we were probably experiencing was valve float(when we tried to pass the semi) and it probably did it again and made contact during the last pull. Head is coming off of that this week so that we can see if that was really the issue. Good thing he has a spare head and full valvetrain sitting in the garage. But all signs are pointing to it being an inevitable mechanical failure, not a result of my tuning. WHEW!
At some point over these past two weeks I managed to find some time to play some Fourza. What you see above is no lie, I managed 125k drift points in one lap of Fujimi. Suck on that playa.
The last thing I'm gonna talk about is completely unrelated to cars, but pretty damn nifty if I do say so myself. Those things above are the first vinyls I cut for the new business a friend and myself have been working on for a few months now. I know we all love Blipshift here, and we all agree that it's a wonderful idea. Well I decided to steal that idea. Now before you get your panties in a wad, they have a very specific market that they cater to, and my idea is the same thing, but for a radically different market, so no toes are being stepped on here. As none of you on here know, I'm also an avid sailboat racer. I've been doing it since I was about 6 years old and have multiple national, and one world, title under my belt as well as tons and tons of other experience with all of that. We decided to run the same business model but with stupid inside jokes that the sailing community comes up with. Feel free to try and break things on the site and let me know, this is my first venture into HTML and CSS on a commercial level. Anyways, it's kinda cool and if you feel like checking it out, our website just went live yesterday and it can be found at porttackpress.com.
Well that seems to be all folks. Thanks for reading!