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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Body Wrap - OGK debut

Vinyl body wrap

I asked Mike at All Pro Stickers in San Diego how long he would need the car to do the wrap. "A day or so. Can you leave it over night?" My answer: "What can you do in say, half a day?". He said he'd
give it a shot, being his first Miata and not having complete artwork ready. Towed it down to his shop in the shadow of Qualcom stadium, we both worked on it ( I mostly got in the way I think) and this is the result.

I must say, even with some of the graphics not aligned with the body seams and a
few other little things, I'm really happy with it. When I have time to leave it with him for two days he said he can redo a few panels and get it 100% dialed.

Action pic courtesy Brian at Cali Photography. He's the resident shooter at WSIR, karts, bikes vintage, drift, he covers it all.

Streets of Willow, CW -blowpass, Speedventures Oct 24

Having been too busy with other stuff to work on the car since the last event at Buttonwillow, the car was pretty much the same. I did have time to put a new steering wheel on. The cheap ebay wheel I was using was flexy so I swapped it for the rock solid Momo Monte Carlo off the turbo (280mm). I also switched the front pads from XP10's to XP12's, upgraded to steel lines and performed a long overdue flush and bleed. I love the XP12's in front but now I need more rear bite. I ended up running the proportioning valve wide open and just barely having enough rear brake. So I'll switch the rear XP8's for XP10's. Yes William, you were right.

Went out for session 2 , about 55° ambient. Being kind cool I started with fairly high cold pressures but it ended up being too much. The tires went off about halfway through the session. That's a bit of a learning curve for me. The old version of the car with stock 1.6 engine didn't put heat into the tires like this motor does. So starting pressure, way too much front brake bias, damping adjusted too soft front and way too soft in rear. Managed a 1:26.210 anyway. 3rd session I had everything dialed in but the ambient had climbed to about 85°, managed a 1:25.882. That was a bit of a surprise. As far as I can tell, that's only .5 sec off the S2K lap record for race tires on that config. Yowza.

So if I do a little supposition, CCW is usually about .5 faster for the fast cars. The wings, dyno time, finish building and tuning the suspension and a cooler 55~60° day, I could conceivably nip into the high 1:23's on NT01's
. 1:22's on Hoosiers. That is 997/Z06 on race tires territory. I'm having to rethink all my benchmarks.

OGK = Orange Giant Killa :)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Go fast recipe

Miscellaneous pics during the initial build.

I haven't posted it here so I though I'd list the current parts and mods list. The car is used for product development and testing so it'll have an ever changing list of things going on.

As of 04-22-09:

Chassis prep

Safety Equipment

  • TeamTech 6 point cam lock harnesses
  • Momo Safari FIA containment seats, custom fixed brackets
  • Hard Dog Hard Core Double Diagonal 4 pt roll bar with integral harness bar
  • Momo Monte Carlo 320mm steering wheel and hub adapter
  • GDL adjustable steering spacer





Saturday, October 11, 2008


Coil On Plugs that is. Just got these installed. A few guys on Miataturbo.net were building their own COPS using Corolla or GM coils. Savington there makes this Corolla coil plug and play kit fotr the Miata and doesn't charge enough. Anyway, plugged in as advertised, reduced dwell in Megatune to 3.5ms cranking, 2.5ms running and I'm done. Nice to be able to get behind the head for service now.

The intake pipe is temporary. I'm going to make test different intake pipe lengths when I take it to the dyno next week. We have seen that piep length has a huge effect on power. Just switching from the short 8" pipe I ran at Buttonwillow to this nearly 25" pipe boosted midrange but killed everything over 7000. The way this things runs now untuned, I'm starting to think 155whp is possible once dyno tuned.

Oh yeah, Gordon told me my car was spitting flames on every shift when he followed me at Buttonwillow. The thing sounds really angry. It doesn't rev, it barks. Just amazes me that all this is with 100% stock internals.

Monday, October 6, 2008

V8 Roadsters subframe

The guys at V8Roadsters just sent me this trick new subframe. It's about 10 lbs lighter than stock, much stiffer, uses NB lower pick up points and is red. I could have matched the Lotus Orange a bit better if I was willing to wait for custom powder coating. I was not. So we picked the closest color they had in stock, shot it and here it is.

The NB pick up points lower the front roll center a tad and also change the camber curve a bit. So the 91 now has NB front suspension geometry. The subframe comes with shims to correct bump steer. Been holding off installing the Energy Suspension bushings until this arrived. I'll post more pics once it's in. Now you can see where the space for my battery relocation comes from.

The subframe will also allow a lot more air to flow into the wheel wells from the engine compartment. I think this potential change in air pressure will help improve radiator efficiency. What I don't know is what effect it will have on aerodynamics. On paper at least, it should slightly raise the pressure in the wheel wells. I've been toying with the idea of venting to tops of the front fenders to produce a bit of downforce and reduce drag a tiny bit. The subframe would help with the pressure differential from inside to outside the fender... I think.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Short clip of project car passing stock Miata

Rob just uploaded a short clip of me passing on Buttonwillow 18CW last Saturday. His car is a mostly stock 95M Edition, on 205 Z214 C30's (very hard). I think he has a Goodwin intake and maybe a header, 115whp perhaps and carrying a passenger. I was right on his bumper exiting Cotton Corners, lifted a tad to make sure he wasn't tracking right, then floored it to get past. That was my out lap so I pedaled a bit through Riverside and missed the apex. That was my first time ever braking for Star Mazda on 18, very conservative so he closed on me. Exiting Star my tires are now warm enough and simply motor away like an S2K. The car feels fast but that shot exiting the esses really brought home the difference. Now I now why William was a bit bummed after I passed him. Sorry!

Second clip is from William's 99 N/A. His car is a bit faster than Rob's.

Incidentally, Rob spent quite a bit of time on the first iteration of this project car. I owe him some seat time in it so he'll be able to humble some more expensive cars soon too.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

broken throttle shaft

After catching up on business most of the week I finally got around to investigating the throttle shaft failure. Turns out the missing screw heads had been AWOL for a while. I see now that they were what killed the original 1.6 back in January. So I had a spare TB shaft brazed to the plate and screws. The welder put a bit too much heat into the shaft (all one side) and warped it. As a result it was binding. The return spring would bring it back closed but that kind of thing could potentially turn into a stuck throttle. Applied some careful thumps to the shaft in two planes to bring it back straight so it snapped shut like the other healthy 1.8 TB's I have in the shop.

After looking at it more, a billet 4340 shaft with a lower profile and graded set screws would be a nice modification. Much better fatigue life, better airflow and no errant screw heads to attack the pistons.

Having rushed through prep last week, I have a
bunch of stuff I need to do before the next event at SOW
(Streets of Willow).

Putting an ETX9 motorcycle battery in. 7.4lbs! I'm going to try to fit it onto the subframe next to the starter. Get rid of the heavy cable running into the trunk, lower the CG & PMI, move mass from outside of the wheelbase to within it.

TheAutokonexion hood, like all Miata hoods was distorting at high speed and creating a gap to the fenders. On the drag strip of 18 Saturday I saw over a 1" gap at about 120mph! Wilson Steele, a composite engineer and Speedventures regular, suggested I bond the outer skin to the support structure underneath. As it is, it's only attached at the perimeter of the hood so the outer skin very flexible.

Engine stuff to do list before dyno next week:
1. Fab sealed airbox under RF headlight cover
2. Fit Setrab #119 oil cooler, Mocal thermostatic sandwich plate & -10 lines under RF corner
3. Install Savington's Coil on Plug set up, re-gap to about .050
4. Switch from 10-30 redline break in oil to 0-20W Amsoil
5. Siphon out the remainining 4 gal. of 100 octane Sunoco in the tank (dyno on 91 pump gas)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Buttonwillow 9-27/28


After doing some one lap datalogging runs
I finally took it out for some hot laps without a laptop in the pasenger seat. First time through Sunset on my flying lap and the FM throttle cable bracket snapped in two. Not enough tiime to ge it fixed by 7's Only before the day was through so I was done for the day. I left the .060" thick 304 FM bracket with Dallas at 7's Only and he fabbed a copy out of .125" mild steel for me to pick up the next morning.


Alternator pivot bolt backed out. Went over to 7's Only to scavenge one off a Miata in their boneyard only to misplace it about 30 minutes later. Went back for yet another one, installed and the car was all set. Sent Rob Burgoon out for a few hot laps. On his way down pitlane and about the enter the track, the throttle shaft broke (where they always break), sticking the throttle open. Rob immediately shut down. Haven't taken the manifold off and explored for broken bits of throttle/screw in there yet. Fingers crossed he shut it down in time to save the engine from ingesting anything harmful. You can see the burly cable bracket Dallas whipped up in pic of the broken throttle.

Manly Kao just barely missed going under 2:00 on street tires, 2:00.147 IIRC. So close! Anyway, that's a reprieve as I'd really like to be the first non-supercar under 2:00 on street tires

Steve Happel vanhap.com, the resident photographer at Buttonwillow got some killer hi-res shots of the project car catching air over the peak at Cotton Corners. I'll post those when he gets the disc to me.
The SV crew has begun a new tradition of hanging around the pool after the event. Drinking, munching AM/PM snacks and bench racing until we run out of beer. Then we cruise across the sreet to the Willow Ranch Restaurant, hit on the hot waitresses, order truck stop food and drink some more beer. So overall, a good weekend at the track and a solid performance from the project car. Three weeks until the next event for me to properly sort it out, get the wings on and whatnot. Oh yeah, I think I'm going to take my good friend Oli's suggestion not to paint it but do a body wrap instead. allprostickers.com in San Diego come highly recommended. Lotus chrome orange!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

First track event for project car

Worked straight through Thursday night getting it ready. Well, as ready as I could. I was concerned about the aero lift and cooling issues I would have with no body work so I put the marker lights and factory r package lip spoiler on. Didn't have time to make brackets for the huge ISC Racing air dam/splitter or APR dual element wing. No rear bodywork or race seats. I need harnesses so I cut holes in the stock seats for my 6 pt Team Tech's sub belts to pass through.
Ghetto but it's better than the 4pts Willans I had. Anyway, got it done about 5:30 am, went home for a much needed shower, loaded up and left for Buttonwillow.

As expected, I was falling asleep at the wheel so I pulled over for a half hour for some mini-nappage. Got to the track around noon. Running 13CW on Friday. Unloaded and rolled out for a recon lap at about 60% pace. Back in a lap later, few little tweaks here and there, then out again. Brought it up top about 90% and the car felt really good. Power from the mix and match engine was sensational, better than expected. A little too much starting pressure had me up to about 37 hot, too much for a sub 2000# Miata. Gordon's 2100# intercooled, water injected, Megasquirted, MP62 hotside was just barely pulling me. William's 99 with stock engine, race exhaust and coldside air intake making probably 125whp was not even close.

All in all a great day at the track. Afterwards, Aaron and a few of us instructors retired to the pool at the Red Roof for some liquid nutritional supplements. 24oz Fosters in my case. Well the sleep deprivation and 100* heat finally got to me. I started slurring my speech, and speaking incoherently. More than usual that is. Stumbled (literally) back to the room and slept for 12 hrs.

Today we're running a variation on 18CW. Aaron decided he hates brake pads and has us running the drag strip into StarMazda. You read that right. Riding with a first timer in a C6 Z06 touching 150mph in that pup was, ah, invigorating.

I have XP10 Carbotech's on the front but didn't have time to get the brake ducts made. Hopefully, I've got enough. I think I'll run XP12's in front for the next event. XP10's are fine a Spec Miata on 205's but the project beastie is
much faster.

I'm also going to log my laps with William's Traqmate. Curious to see the lateral in Riverside. It feel like the slight baking there overcomes any aero lift I may be getting so it turns harder there that anywhere else on the track.

Forgot one of the adapters for my laptop so I'm borrowing William's for the blog and to do some datalogging. Hoping to lean out the top end of the map a bit, free up maybe 5-10hp.

We're running 13CW again tomorrow. The plan is to go out when it's relatively cool and aim for a 2:02. With the 2:04.3 yesterday, I'm guessing I have the normally aspirated Miata lap record on 13CW. I'm sure an EP car would be faster but I've never seen on on 13 CW, the Cal Club uses different configs.

OK, time to drive...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

First blog post..

I'm going to try to post some sorta record of all the little projects I'm doing, reports from the track, progress on the track car and hopefully not to many boring personal details.

At the moment, I just got back from Church's dyno, it's 9:00pm and I haven't had lunch yet. A typical day. The very light experimental clutch combination I tried didn't hold. Slipping at 70kpa so we never got the MegaSquirt PnP map completed. It's on the 91 Miata trackday project car. Just swapped in a 1.8 motor that is a stock 02 bottom end with a mild ported, polished, .015 shaved BP4W head. Even at like 40% throttle it was making 115lbs/ft so that's encouraging.

Anyway, the plan is to pack up and roll out Thursday evening for Sppedventures at Buttonwillow Fri-Sun. Can't do that with a slipping clutch so I called clutchnet while at the dyno in Wilmington at about 4pm. They made me a clutch on the spot and I dragged the trailer all the way to South El Monte to get it. I would like to say now that I am damned glad I don't have to drive in that poo every day. What's the Mercedes ad? "Around here, you have to love what you drive". Yah, otherwise you would become depressed I guess. I saw many of them wearing bleak expressions behind the wheel today. None of them driving Mercedes though so maybe there is something to that. I was towing a racecar so I was toting my anti-depression medicine within arms reach. After running the gauntlet safely, arriving in the splendid somewhat smoggy squalor that is So El Monte, I grabbed the clutch. Clutched the disc? Mission accomplished, sun going down, nearly finished race car on the trailer sitting with an expression that said " I know you really don;t want to go back to shop and install that disc tonight but I tell you what, start me up right now and I'll make a couple of really glorius trips into the sweet spot on my engine's VE for you. Right now, you don't even have to take it off the trailer". I obliged, and so did the little red car.

GPS located the nearest Starbucks for some octane booster. Sign read "Sorry but we are closing this location September 28th". Wow, I almost care. Uncharateristically, the coffee was fresh and blooming with nuance and flavor. I had the strangest that its was like last hurrah for that little store. OK, so I think too much.

So I'm going to fuel up at El Pollo and attempt to get the disc in tonight. Sleep is over rated.