Monthly Archives: March 2011

False Start

For most the season is finally getting going, and around here the days are starting to reach into the 60’s and 70’s. Unfortunately, the weather seems to be slightly schizophrenic. We decided to cancel our Thunderhill trip owing to the rain, wind, tornadoes, snow, avalanches, and various other assorted ugliness forecast for highway 80 and around Willows, CA. So, we’ll be reshuffling our schedule somewhat – looking forward to May Daze at High Plains Raceway now as the first actual race of the season.

First Test

Happily, I did get the car screwed back together with a reasonable amount of time before Thunderhill, and we went down to PPIR to shake the car down a bit. We went through the list of checks to make sure the chain, suspension, cooling systems, engine, and everything were completely sorted out. Miscellaneous small changes were in order – a shortening of the various lapbelts owing to my having lost about 10# since the end of last season, verification that the new camera/cabling has solved the issues with the PDR100 and SS1000 – now the dual picture is working perfectly, and is quite a lot of fun. The new axles seemed to have run themselves in just fine, and the car is feeling just excellent overall.

There were only a few small issues, quickly addressed:

  • Brake Rotor Float – Always the damn brakes! Actually, the issue at this moment was a mismatch between the new Luxon uprights up front, and the bobbins which space the brake rotor off of the hat for the float. Billy from Luxon says the supplied bobbins are slightly too tall, causing something that feels like knockback, as the rotor is spaced about .040 too far inwards. We’ll machine the bobbins down to center the rotor, which should fix that issue. For the test day, I substituted my solid rotors, which were spaced accordingly for the Luxon uprights.
  • Control Arm Bracket – owing to my odd Penskes, I have a custom bracket mounted on the lower control arm which accepts the pushrod and shock, instead of the usual “U” bracket on the front of a Stohr which accepts just the bottom of the front pushrod. That bracket is fixed with only a single bolt. Stohr moved that same bracket from the old control arms onto the new ones, but I must not have cinched it down quite as much as required, as the right-front rotated suddenly while out on track, dumping the right-front ride height down to almost zero. So, I’ll have to address that in some fashion. We tightened the bracket down with a huge amount of torque to get through the rest of the day, but mayhap I’ll have a friend tack those brackets in place or something…

Most happily, the DID chain seemed to not stretch at all once its initial “new chain” stretch was over with, so that bodes well for hopefully the long-running chain difficulties being sorted out. Also extremely encouraging, the experience around the track with the Shock-Shop revalved Penskes was absolutely night-and-day from a year ago when we ran with the original valving – I swear the track was half as bumpy than it was last time. No porpoising, no bounciness, no getting beaten up by the track…so huge kudos once again to Chris Billings at the Shock Shop – that was worth every penny.

Platform & Scales

After managing to find myself a set of scales and a platform over the winter, once of our big excitements was to finally put the car on the scales, and a nice flat platform. Having the car set up and knowing that it’s completely square is quite nice! The only hiccup was a left-rear cable that was reading incorrectly (woe is me if I’m 220#!), but several phone calls with Rebco, and a really, really helpful chap named Shane, allowed me to finally find the problem at the connector. The pins had rotated, so the incorrect pins were going into the wrong pins on the scale. Weird! As such, we didn’t really get a full weight on the car, but it appears to be in the 1010-1020 range with just a bit of fuel in it, which is encouraging.

Canopy Finalized

The long-awaited canopy finally arrived from Holliday Canopies, after a small bit of miscommunication between Wes and I. Full marks must ultimately go to Wes at
Holliday Canopies, as he was completely helpful about resolving the problem, and never gave me a moment of guff for it. One last-minute welcome addition has been a set of burst panels to help prevent the thing from blowing away. Really refreshing professionalism, even though it cost him some money. The only suggestion I’d make if you call Wes is to not rely on e-mail communication – he seems to miss messages from time to time.

We did a practice set-up of the canopy, wrote down what seems to be the best order of instructions, and color-coded the various pipes so we can quickly lay them out in the future.  we’ll definitely have to bring a couple of ladders from now on to do the setup, but the final result seems to be really, really nice.