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Round 2, and races 3 and 4 are in the books from our race weekend at the amazing Laguna Seca Raceway.
Recording this stuff here as much for my own benefit is to that of anybody listening this blog. I've swapped out some wing parts, and with a little attention to weight,
I thought it was time to re-weigh the car. With no fuel, otherwise ready to go, and my butt sitting in it:
for 1002#, and a 44.8% front weight distribution. Looks like soon I may need to add some ballast...hmm!
It's been a very long time, but after CoTA, I embarked on a project that was new enough to me, and what seemed like uncommon enough in the formula car world that I decided to
do a how-to writeup on something, in case it helps other folks out there. This time, it was the installation of shock pots on the car,
to help with gathering data on suspension travel, downforce, and more!
Shock Canister Mounts available
As part of that project, I relocated the shock canisters inboard slightly on the chassis. To do this, I had some canister mounts cut, thanks to an idea I got from an FC competitor,
Rick Iverson. It was the same price to have 20 pairs cut versus 4, so I have many leftover pieces available, and would be happy to sell them cheaply to help offset the cost
of making them. They look like this:
Drop me an e-mail if you'd like a pair. They fit 1" tube on the small end, and the ~49mm penske canister on the other, and they bolt together with a 10-32 bolt.
After a lot of preparation and test-fitting of items, we headed out to High Plains Raceway last weekend with no fewer than 3 front wings, and two complete rear wing assemblies,
to see if we could find some additional downforce/efficiency for the car.
We tried the Stohr factory wing, as well as a Pennon F2000 wing, and saw no major difference between the two. Then we tried a new wing designed by one of the CSU students,
and that seems to have been quite a success! More on this to come.
At the rear, we compared the factory setup with the smaller element beam wing, versus a larger chord beam wing from an older revision of the Stohr F1000. Interestingly, the same
profile used for the DSR's lower wing element seems to work very well as a beam wing for the F1000 as well. More to come on this as well.
In all, it appears that we found some nice downforce gains for no loss in straight line speed, so we will see if that is borne out at Laguna later this month, and just as
importantly, at Miller Motorsports Park later this year. Keep it going!
So you think you're an F1 driver?
Race #1 of the season is in the books, down at the amazing Circuit of the Americas in Austin, TX. Read all about it in the Racing Log.
There's a been a lot of reading and research over the winter, all of it with the aim to see if we can figure out how to get the Stohr on the pace with the front-running
cars in class. Still to come is some fun stuff like doing a torsion test on the car to measure the chassis stiffness, measuring the suspension geometry, and of course, great
fun stuff like trying some new wings. There's about a 3 second gap to the front of the field right now, about the same as existed at Runoffs, so now it's time to see if we
can get the car closer to the front of the pack.
Project Update - Wing Supports
The rear endplates on the Stohr are quite large, and with the wings actually being relatively small - only 6.5" or so in span - there is a lot of unsupported area.
As such, without some stabilization, the rear wing assembly will vibrate back and forth. Originally, to stiffen it up, I made some support cables with some 3/32
sheathed cable, a few metal tabs, and some ferrules, to make a looped assembly. (see pictures in previous log entry)
This was very cost
effective, but the loops in the cables tended to "pull" over time,
which meant I had to continually add tension to the assembly by adding or removing washers from the clevis pin down at the bottom. Additionally, heat from the exhaust
melted the cable sheathing, which ultimately looked quite bad.
To get around this problem, I decided to remake the cables using some better, swaged cables from aircraft spruce using their
cables order form. Here is the recipe:
The total solution cost about $100, but the net result is much more adjustable, repeatable, and stable. I can still use AN washers under the clevis heads at both top and
bottom to make gross adjustments as necessary. Looks way better too.
- (2) 20.75" long, 7x7 stainless, uncoated 3/32 cables
- End #1: 3/32 eye end
- End #2: 10-32 threaded stud (thread a clevis on to this to mount to the eyebolt)
- Lower Mount: 10-32 Eye Bolts in the lower wing support
- Upper Mount: 10-32 Easy-Adapt Clevis Rod-Ends
What's Cookin' Good Lookin'?
Been a pretty quiet winter you say? Indeed! Things are starting to stir though, as the season opener at Texas' Circuit of the Americas in Austin is now
just over two months away.
I've been fortunate enough to get in touch with some folks in the FSAE program from my alma mater, Colorado State University. They are interested in modeling the suspension of the
Stohr, as well as modeling some of the aerodynamics in CFD. We'll be taking a look at the wings to see if there's opportunity for improvement there, and also making a rough-cut
model of the bodywork to get some ideas of where the flow is going.
I've bought a copy of Bill Mitchell's "WinGeo3" software as included with the Race Car Engineering book by
Bill Rowley. I am hoping that by getting to see some of this stuff working, it will help my understanding of how to optimize the car's setup, perhaps identify some issues, and hopefully
ultimately go quicker.
Once again, I've gotten in touch with Jesse Brittsan at Brittsan Racing to get a dry sump system configured for the car. The systems make additional horsepower on the dyno (5 according to George),
and the whole engine runs cooler. This might enable me to remove one of the two oil coolers, reducing weight a bit, and reducing center of gravity height. Additionally, with some other changes
around the back of the car, we'll be able to come out just about net neutral, or perhaps even a slight loss of weight with this change.
One additional small change. I got ahold of Scotty at Taylor Race Engineering, and used my certificate from the F1000 Pro Series to grab a set of lightened GKN CV joints. It will save about
three pounds out of the axles. This setup is still FAR heavier than the tripod configuration, but should be 100% bulletproof. Hopefully for now, the lighter axles will not be necessary to get RIGHT
down to that minimum weight.
2012's Good Guy List
While putting together my 2013 schedule and going through a sponsorship proposal, it occurred to me how many different vendors are involved in helping
me keep going in racing. I thought it appropriate to
call out a few that have really been helpful. It takes a while of being in the game to find the folks that are really good at what they do, and if I've learned one thing,
it's to find folks that are good at what they do, and follow their advice.
Here are the vendors that have really helped me out, and in some cases have really become, as the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band would put it "Partners, Brothers, and Friends."
I think these vendors, and people, are worth your racing dollars, and hopefully they will help you too.
Stohr Cars (Wayne & Roxanne) - I send a LOT of questions to Wayne and Roxanne at Stohr. As a guy who hasn't grown up with this stuff, I have a lot of questions,
and they have always been very friendly and fair with me. I enjoyed the DSR, and have enjoyed the F1000 too. For anybody on the fence, owning a Stohr is a good experience when you can
pick up the phone and get help from Stohr with zero trouble.
GDRE (George Dean) - What else can any of us say about the helpfulness and integrity of Mr. Dean? George helped me for months before
I ever even sent him a penny, and he's been fantastic since I began sending engines up to Seattle. Send your engines to George!
Hoosier (Jeff Speer, Tim/Terry Gilvin) - If you've been reading this blog over the past few years, you'll know I really like Hoosier's formula car
tires. Jeff always answers my e-mails when I send questions, and Terry Gilvin gave me some crucial last-minute advice that really made my Runoffs race this year. Thanks guys.
Hypercoils (Kelly Falls) - I was lucky enough to meet the guys from Hyperco when they were developing their new Carbon Bellows Springs. Kelly Falls and Mark Campbell
are extremely friendly and knowledgeable guys, and true racing fans. There are a lot of places to get springs out there, but I'll buy Hypercoils from now on just for the positivity and support
that those guys have. You should too.
Jongbloed (Ryan Dettling) - Jongbloed makes a great product. After seeing how bad customer service can be with the #(@*@ Kodiak wheels,
having a good product made on time and with good support like Ryan provides is really a breath of fresh air.
StickyVinylGraphics.com (Erron Spalsbury) - Erron and I go way back as former buds in SCCA Time Trials. His vinyl graphics are second
to none, and we all know that each sticker adds 5hp. Erron's a racer, so he gets it. Send him any format of image you've got, and he'll send you back high quality vinyl to make your race car
look like a million bucks.
Taylor Race Engineering (Scott Young) - I called up Taylor a few weeks ago to order a set of lightened CV joints. Scotty remembered who I was after
two years, and immediately began cracking jokes. Despite being an infrequent customer (since the parts are great), it felt pretty good to have Scotty remember after such a long time.
The Shock Shop (Chris Billings) - Chris is now two for two in really transforming the behavior and grip of my car on track. He answers all of the wide-ranging suspension
related e-mails I send him with thought and good humor. His services are worth it.
Williams Racing Developments (Lee Williams) - Early in this year, when I was thrashing to try to get my car together in time for Laguna Seca, Lee and Heather were on the
ball to help me in my scramble. Other things kept me out of the game, but Lee's been friendly every time I've called.
Veracity Racing Data - (David and Ellen Ferguson) - The Fergusons are another example of great folks to work with. They know their products
inside and out, and as with many of these other folks, have always fielded my questions and sent me on my way with what I needed. If you need dash/datalogging and other related equipment, they should be
your primary contact.
The 2012 Runoffs is in the books, and just like 2011, it was a doozy! Read all about it and watch the video, for another
very surprising and happy result!
On to 2013 and some more development to see where we can take the car. Looking forward to the new season already!
First year with a new car. Keep repeating the mantra: "It's a development season, it's a development season."
Since crunching into the tires at Miller, I've had bad understeer in the car, as I've mentioned elsewhere on the site. After talking with the folks at Stohr,
I realized that one possible cause of this was the angle of the mainplane being different with the borrowed nosebox. Sure enough, comparing mounting angles of the
original nose to the nose that JRO loaned me, the wing was about 3* nose-up (i.e. less angle of attack) than the car had had previously. As well, the mounting
pylons were slightly different length, leading to the wing being higher on the left than the right.
So, installing the new crushbox, we've measured to make sure we've got the mainplane back at the correct angle relative to the ground (0*). That should, hopefully,
help correct the understeer. When I've got the new wing installed, and spaced out correctly, I'll post the angles and spacing to get the wing right where it ought to
be for maximum effect.
Since getting the wideband O2 sensor more figured out and configured (see below), it has still read rich, on the order of 11.8:1 or so, despite reducing the fuel pressure by over 8psi.
I confirmed pressure at about 44psi with a second gauge, and bought the datalogging cable from Boost By Smith.com so that I could
take a look at the readings in the ECU.
One thing I noticed was that the ECU was not "locked" in 5th gear by a resistor as I'd assumed, which means the ECU has thought it
has been in neutral this whole time. That explains the rich condition, the lower revlimit, and the hesitation at low revs while pulling away from the grid that I've seen. George says
plugging in the gear position sensor and giving it a correct reading will be worth 7-9hp or so, and the whole thing should run a lot "crisper." How's that for an awesome fix?
Let's hear it for proper analysis tools (the O2 sensor and the datalogging cable) - without those I'd have never known something was amiss with the engine!
Great Salt...In Wounds
We went to Miller Motorsports Park to take part in the Great Salt Race, which was the last round of the F1000 Pro Series for
2012. Read All About it.
A-Running We will go
Having completed an entirely uneventful weekend at our local "Hyatt's Riot" event here in Colorado, I'm now all qualified for the 2012 Runoffs. Elkhart Lake, here we come!
On AiM Dashes
Thought I would pass along a word about AiM dashes for those that are reading. I've been getting by with an AiM MyChron 3, which David and Ellen Ferguson at
Veracity Racing Data were kind enough to supply, while we waited for the AiM MXL Dash to be complete.
now living happily under the cowl of my Stohr is that same MXL Dash, which is an MXL display powered by the EVO 4 logger. The combination is an excellent one - the 3-axis
sensor and GPS readings from the EVO4 all nice and built-in, along with the large display, large LED's, and general readability of the MXL. I'm a super happy camper now that
I've got my MXL back, and life is good. So, for those of you soldiering on with a MyChron or similar, grab an MXL dash if you are dissatisfied, you'll like it.
Business as Unusual
Something odd is afoot. The car is loaded in the trailer a full 3 days ahead of when we actually need to leave for the race track. Somewhere a pig is feeling a funny
itchy feeling in between its shoulder blades, as new wings prepare to sprout...
Some good news on the horizon, as the MXL dash is on its way, and I'm looking forward to that very much - definitely happy to get the MXL back after having sampled the
Mychron for a while.
The shocks are, at long last, back from Chris Billings despite a host of hilarious delays, including a (no kidding) train wreck in Montana. However, Chris was totally on the
ball, got everything assembled to recipe, and I'm looking forward very much to the result.
Among the interesting notes from disassembling the Penskes as delivered from the
factory, The RF piston was installed BACKWARDS in the shock. Seriously happy to have gotten those looked at by Chris
at the Shock Shop.
Having gone through a few test days, and a race now, I decided to go ahead and cover the bead seat that we made. As with the DSR, I used the OMP Kart Seat fabric from
Pegasus, along with some #90 3M spray adhesive from Home Depot. Start from the middle and work your way up and back. Almost no matter what (at least for me), you'll have to
cut a relief around the seat belt holes to help the fabric stay nice and flat along the seat surface, no matter how much you stretch and pull the fabric.
Note the diagonal/crescent cut out of the seat, and the angle of the cut back-cut so that it locks in place once it is in the seat. Almost no matter what, you have to cut these
seats to get them out of the car after they cure, and you have to make sure NOT to cut them directly down the middle (i.e. where your spine is), so the crescent cut is a good
way to allow removal, without compromising fit and safety of the seat. Plus, not having a seam right down the middle makes it nice and comfy all along the length of your body.
A very minor thing, but since this car does not have the small push-bolt on the diff housing for pushing the diff forward, slacking the chain to change sprockets
(or engines...) is more difficult. We made a small bar that we can tap to move the diff forward directly, rather than having to tap on the axles and such:
One has to chuckle at how difficult this season is turning out to be. Latest update from Chris at the Shock-Shop is that the train carrying the UPS package from Penske for
my shocks quite literally derailed and wrecked, putting into question whether or not we'll have updated shocks in time for Miller. A train wreck. Really.
In the face of the hot temperatures at High Plains Raceway, and anticipated hot weather at Miller Motorsports Park, I'm planning on running some tests to see if we can improve
the car's cooling in these extreme conditions. I've gotten the Wideband O2 sensor from Veracity properly configured now, so the first thing is to make sure the car is running
at the proper air-fuel ratio. If it's lean, that will definitely cause it to run warmer, as I've seen in the past with the DSR.
Secondly, per a small tip, evidently the cars run cooler on 110 octane than on 98 or 100 unleaded/low lead. Worth try if so.
With those two things in mind, I'm also going to run an experiment without the left-hand sidepod to see if the car runs appreciably cool. If so, I will see if Stohr can modify the
sidepod over the winter to provide a couple of removable panels that we can replace with louvers, if necessary. It seems to be only at the extreme high altitude, hot temperature tracks
such as Miller and High Plains where the car has any cooling problems, but the tough reality is that those are the tracks where I frequently run, so I need a way to ensure the
engines are running happily cool.
One of the more problematic areas of the original car build was adapting the Wilwood master cylinders, which are threaded for 1/8NPT thread, to a 3/8-24 banjo bolt. I previously
already replaced the brake masters and lines with the appropriate NPT -> AN lines. At the HPR race (below), as I left for the race, the clutch was not engaging properly, though I
was able to pump it up. Ultimately, I determined that the master cylinder had failed, and was not holding pressure. I replaced the clutch master and the line with the correct NPT
fittings, re-bled, and the problem is solved.
So, in regards to the banjo bolts, to paraphrase Darth Vader, "Banjo Fittings...Nowwww your failure is complete."
Almost six months to the day after calling Stohr and ordering my new F1000, I have my first race under my belt, and what a Good start it was!
A few small things to deal with post race weekend, as always. Development-wise, I'm sending the shocks off to Chris Billings at the Shock Shop,
just like I did on the DSR. If we can do the same magic that he did with the Penske 2000's on the WF-1, then I should be in fantastic in that department from here on out.
More to come!
Third Time's a Charm?
Nice easy night in the shop tonight. Installed a new Hella master switch from Pegasus. The switch seems
to have more positive 'clunk' when it engages. The posts on the old switch seemed to be slightly loose,
thought it may have just needed for me to snug down the lock nuts that I saw on them once it was removed.
So, we'll see if the switch was the problem or not...I sure hope so.
I got my first set of corner weights with me sitting in the car:
for a total of 1016, and a 45/55 weight distribution. That's with somewhere in the neighborhood of about 3 gallons of fuel in the car, meaning
that the car, when empty, would be juuuuust about at the minimum, which is what we've seen so far.
So, that means that with perhaps a bit of weight reduction at the back, we might need to add in that 15#
ballast plate that I made for the front tea tray to be safe, and also perhaps that would help us even out
the weight distribution on the car.
Friday we headed back out to HPR to do some more testing on the car to see if it was all set for Seattle or not. As it turns out, not, but there
are some good positives.
On the upside, the problematic brake line didn't leak at all. We did see some wetness on the driver's side of the car after the first session, and thought perhaps it
was leaking again (cursing ensued), but it turned out to be some migratory oil from the oil temp sensor near the water pump.
The new wing support cables worked quite well, though I had to snug one back up after the first session. They actually look almost factory!
Big downer from the day was a high RPM misfire/hesitation that manifested as I started pushing the car harder, and steadily worsened throughout the day. I tried replacing the
throttle bodies, removing the FlatShifter, and even rewiring the ignition/fuel pump switch to a spare to see if that would solve the issue. On the last session, I noticed that the
dash also shut off when the engine stuttered. Unfortunately, I didn't have any time left to try anything else, but that definitely points to something far upstream, like a bad
master switch or perhaps even a bad battery.
Among the frustration, there were lots of good points. First and foremost, the car doesn't seem to have any big problems. It's going where it's pointed mostly, the balance seems OK. Nothing
is coming loose, the chain is staying put, and the shifting is good. FlatShifter is working pretty well on downshifts and flawlessly on upshifts. All the leaks are fixed up and the radio
seems to be at least OK to start with. Lots of good so far, just one more issue to sort out, and then it's time to do some debugging.
Shocks and Motion Ratios
One of the noteable downers on the car is the shock damping - it is HUGELY stiff. It feels even more sensitive to bumps than the DSR did before sending the shocks off to Chris Billings for
revalving. As such, I've gone and measured the motion ratios as well as I can on the car (which isn't all that well). Both seem to have a decreasing curve - i.e. the further into bump you go,
the lower the motion ratio gets. Near as I could measure, they were both around 0.94 at the ride heights I have. I think it starts closer to .98 or so in the rear, and the front might be a bit
lower, perhaps .90-.92 or so. Note that I'm using the ratio as shock:wheel travel, so in my measurements, the shock is traveling .94 of an inch for every 1" of spring travel.
My unsprung weight measurements were 39.0# front, and 49.4# rear, very similar to the DSR.
After getting the car back home, I had just a bit of a cleanup day - reinstalling the switches in their normal spots after having stolen the rain light switch as an ignition switch briefly,
and drilling the spare throttle body set for the FlatShifter blipper.
One installation note: the fill tube on the side-fill cell on the F1000 can make R&R of the center body section extremely difficult. However, the metal fill neck is quite long, so one thing
you can do is significantly shorten the plastic fill tube, to reduce how much this interferes with the body as you try to reinstall it, and get the metal fill neck back into the fill tube.
Cables & Crows
With all my parts orders arriving, Thursday night was about a few last details before heading back to the track to check on the car's brake system being housetrained.
To be able to get to the hard-to-reach oil line fittings, which I suspected I may have left a little bit loose, I bought a set of Crow's feet from Sears. A set from 3/8 up to 1" ran about
$30, and with a 6" extension, allows you to easily get to both oil line fittings on the GSX-R to be able to tighten them with the engine in the car. Very handy, especially now that I don't
have the floor panel access like I did on the DSR.
One small change to make was adding some cable supports to the rear wing, as it is a biiiiitttt too floppy with the large endplates, and very small upper wing. I bought some
3/32 sheathed cable from Lowes, along with some aluminum 3/32 oval-shaped ferrules, and a large crimping tool that looks sort of like a pair of bolt cutters, all for around $30 or so. I also
found some nice simple pre-made 45* angle brackets in the Lowes specialty boxes in the hardware aisle.
To that, I added some Clevis ends from McMaster Carr, which are very similar to the ends used on the floor support
rods. The final product looks like:
A the suggestion of ApexSpeed member "revs12K", aka Richard, I threaded a few of the FullBore buttons that we use to accept a wingnut, so that they could be placed on cockpit surround,
and operated without the use of a 3/16 allen key if necessary. I am small enough to get in and out of the car without removing the collar, but who knows if it might ever be important. A couple
of 1/4-20 x 3/8" (i.e. SHORT!) wingnuts, a 1/4-20 tap, and some JBWeld was enough to make me some nice buttons that come out quite easily by hand:
Tuesdays after a track day are always a bit of a relaxing checkup for the car, since it's the first time to really look at it after a weekend, and none of the parts
to fix the weekend's problems have arrived yet. Some misc notes from the day:
Flaring Nostrils, Flaring Brakes
FlatShifter Debugging: I spent some time debugging the lack of any blip on the FlatShifter downshift. Wiring was OK, as I could hear the valve in the box click
when I actuated the downshift test switch. After playing around with a vacuum pump, I was able to determine the blipper wasn't getting enough vacuum from the signal line I'd installed
on the throttle bodies. This engine was from a Calfornia car, so I'd teed into one of those nipples. As it turns out, despite the nipple being quite large, the orifice from which it
takes the signal is very very small. Drilling out the orifice to around 1/8" or so solved the problem, and now I have all the blip I need.
Video: Video seems to be working OK on the car, and even the G-sensor. Kudos to ChaseCam for zeroing the PDR's axis on startup: even though my PDR is mounted at an angle,
the G readings appear to be zero when the car isn't moving. Nice.
Ducting: Stohr included some lightweight duct hose to run from the over-rollbar intake down into the engine bay to cool the headers. I cut that hose in half and ran it down
each side of the engine bay - easy.
The biggest issue of the test was a leak from the left side of the car where the front hard brake line mates to the rear hard brake line. Despite my best efforts to seal this before leaving, it
apparently was still leaking when real-life braking pressures were applied to it. After taking a good long look at the flares and the union fitting that joins the front and rear lines, I cut off
the old flare, made my own new flare with a flare tool from Lowes, and then cranked the holy hoppin' bejesus out of it with a couple flare wrenches. We'll see if it holds now...
Finally, everything assembled and seemingly leak-free - I get to drive my new car!
Load up, head down, and enjoy a nice wonderful Colorado spring day, right?
Or, maybe, 35*, windy, and threatening snow? Welcome to the high plains everybody.
Still, figuring that we needed to do some laps and get things figured out a little bit, even if just for a few laps, out I went for the first laps. Woo!
I did just one very tentative initial outlap, and even then made some initial notes: First, seeing the wheels is pretty darn cool, though you stop noticing it quite as much after a little while. Still,
it allows for very precise placement of the car indeed. The mirrors do seem to be in the way slightly - seems like I found them in the way of my apex sighting from time to time, so I may find
myself moving those later on.
So far, the bead seat seems to be OK, and the upshift on the FlatShifter is nice and smooth - just like the old HoleShot on the DSR was. Effort on the paddles is a little bit high, so I'll have
to see how that develops as I get used to the car. Brake pedal feel from the new PFC's is tremendous!
After the initial run, I snugged up the new chain a touch, and pulled data to check the logs. Nothing untoward there. My trusty crew (AKA Mom and Dad) reported that the wing was vibrating quite
a lot going down the straight. A post-test phone call to JRO confirmed that is a bit of an issue, so I'll support those a bit with some cables before next time out.
Other upsides: brake pedal feel from the PFC calipers was AWESOME. Downside though - there was a leak on the left-hand side floor. After the second session out, the leak was even worse, the brake fluid
eating away at the paint on the floor.
Unfortunately, that was about the same time that the sleet came, putting the end to our test day. But, a few things learned, and back to the shop we went.
This week was fairly frenetic, with a nice fellow from Santa Rosa coming to pick up the silver Radical, Lazaraus, and give it a new home.
Final preparations for the Stohr were mostly down to getting it aligned. The brakes bled OK, and the masters seem to have finally sealed, so we might be OK in that regard. I did replace
the front master cylinder with a new one, and used the proper NPT to AN tee, removing the problematic banjo fitting.
First challenge was to make some new toe bars. Since the F1000 is 8 or so inches wider than the DSR, my 72" wide bars from the DSR weren't wide enough. I went and bought some 1"x 1/8" aluminum angle at Colorado Metal
Distributors 76" long, and drilled small holes to put fishing line through for toe bars. The next challenge was in mounting them to the car. The rear was not so bad, using small aluminum adapters that Chris Farrell gave me
that formerly went on the front tow bars on the WF-1's diffuser.
To mount the fronts, I had to attach them to the front of the frame. To do this, I installed two small nutserts in the frame, and then used some small tubular 1.25" aluminum spacers through which a 2" long 10-32 bolt could go,
and attach the angle aluminum to the chassis. The spacer is necessary to clear the transponder and the front of the brake master cylinders.
The setup itself didn't take too long, since I'd spent just a bit of time trying to get the toe and camber closer after last week's failed attempt with the camber adjuster. Heights set up nicely at 1.25" and 1.5", and the corner
weights came out almost exactly perfect.
What a difference a day makes
With a full night of sleep on board, and some time to think about problems, my attitude was much improved heading up to the shop.
Having seen how the control arm adjuster goes together at JRís place, I figured that I could pop the adjuster out of my control arm, lube it up with anti-seize, and put it
back in, and in this way, at least come up with a way to run, just without the simpler adjustment capability. I was able to do exactly that, and the arm is now on the car
with a guess at a camber position for now.
I also double-checked each master cylinder now sealed with the longer banjo bolts, and all seem to be holding steady with perhaps juuuuust the slightest weep coming from them. Still, I will
replace at least the front with an AN tee and remove the banjo. Either way, it's certainly good enough to test on, and weíll watch on the test day to see how they go.
With those two big things taken care of, I moved to some smaller details, installing the small aero side pieces that live near the front of the floor. This would be the low-and-long turning vane, which mounts
more-or-less parallel with the carís longitudinal axis, and the sort-of-a-barge-board thing that mounts at the very front right corner of the floor. I put both of these on with 10-32 bolts and tinnerman
washers, to allow easy removal either.
Just for grins, I started putting some stickers on as well Ė feels good to see my name on the side of the car finally!
Having spoken with JR on Saturday and gotten a note from Lucianís experience that the shocks seem to be quite stiff, I took the time to initially set the shock adjustments, and also let the
pressure down to the ~90psi range that Iím accustomed to, rather than the 150 or so that was in them. Iíll see how the car feels on initial shakedown, but if itís as stiff as I fear it might be based on
JRís comments from Lucian, then theyíll be off to Chris Billings at The Shock Shop before too long to see if he can work the magic on these that he did on the Penskes from the DSR.
Next will be finishing up the reinstall of the master cylinders, making some toe bars, and getting the car on the ground to finally finish that setup that I started two weeks ago...
Well, the story of the suspension that wonít go continues.
Yesterday I went down to Aurora and picked up a spare control arm from JRO, who was nice enough to offer me up one of his spares. However, when I went to thread the rod end from my control arm into it, the threads on the
insert would not allow the rod end to thread in cleanly. Closer examination revealed that it looked like the insert threads had ďpulled outĒ at some point. Lacking the proper tap to re-thread things, I stopped there,
to avoid ruining a second wishbone.
Another frustrating turn of events was disassembling the back half of the car to reattach the two small nut plates which act as threads for the forward leg of the upper rear control arm. The bolts that came with the car were 1.5Ē long,
which meant that with approx. ľĒ of spacers under the shear block to correct rear camber, there were no longer any threads into the nut plate, so they promptly fell off. I replaced them with 2" long 5/16-24 socket head bolts, so I will
never have to worry about that again.
Since I had the rear apart, I took the opportunity to replace Chris's rear differential with my own, which I assembled yesterday using my oven and freezer at home (to put on the spar side plates). One tip Ė liberally apply anti-sieze
to the inside of the spar and outside of the side plates to allow everything to slide nicely once assembled.
Much of the afternoon was spent doing this. Fortunately, I had a 4 2Ē long 5/16-24 socket head bolts to replace with the too-short 5/16-24x1.5Ē bolts that came with the car, and now I have plenty of room to ensure I'll never
have to go through this silliness again for those nut plates.
The other difficulty on the F1000 with this latest floor revision is that getting the lower diff carrier bolt out of the spar is damn near impossible, as it runs straight into the top edge of the floor. I disconnected the wing,
and pressed down on the floor with my shoe to try and help, and still ended up having to hammer the bolt out and swear copiously. Replacing this with a socket head bolt (smaller head) would DEFINITELY make this an easier proposition.
This I will do next time around, which I hope isnít for a long, long time.
Finally, returning to the master cylinders, just for grins I installed the other .62 master with the messed up threads, using one of my long banjo bolts. It seems to be holding reasonably well, but it seems like all
three masters still weep a tiny bit when pressure is applied Ė just the faintest of moisture on a finger held to the bottom of the master.
I think I will still replace both brake master cylinders with new, unmolested ones, and use an NPT-> AN tee for the front, along with replacing the short braided line which runs to the rear with an AN line. This is a 32"
straight-straight -3 AN line, which can be had from Pegasus or others. That will eliminate the banjo fittings on the brake system, and a tiny tiny weep from the clutch system should not be a problem, though Iíll definitely
watch it over time...
On that topic, I noticed some small leaky/accumulated mess around the side of the car where that problematic flare fitting for the rear brake hard line was. Iím hoping thatís just spread-out from the old,
large leaks, and not new, consistent weeping thatís been going on from those flare fittings. Crappy hydraulic fittings are starting to become the bane of this project it would seem.
Stopping by after work, this was a nice easy day to fit in a few detail things on the car. I put a second coat on the angled bracket I made to fit over the pedals, which carries the radio and PDR100 recorder.
I configured the PDR and radio for their new orientation, and everything there seems good.
Also dealing in minutiae, I replaced the random what-cha-ma-bolts on the rear sprocket with matching jetnuts from my Pegasus order.
Along those lines, in my Pegasus order was longer, .98 shank banjo bolts (versus provided .78 shank) that I hoped would do a better job of getting all the threads on the master cylinders, and maybe allow enough
torque to tighten them to the point where they would seal sufficiently. Such seems to be the case, as the clutch and rear master are now holding. Iíve left the front for now, on the odd chance that the new,
unmolested master from Stohr arrives, and I can use my AN -> NPT tee and not have to deal with the banjo fittings at all.
Also in the "you must be a psycho" category was replacing our drilled harness mounting hardware with the correctly-made 3/8 ID parts from Schroth. For the shoulder harnesses, and the 2 'pinch' brackets for the sub straps, weíd
had to drill out the provided 5/16" hardware and shoulder washers to 3/8", which is the size on the chassis from Stohr. Since I felt uncomfortable with having drilled those parts and perhaps weaked them, I ordered the $50-odd in proper
parts from Schroth, and replaced those. They were almost visually identical to my modified parts, so not sure that was totally necessary, but at least now I can feel like Iíve done the right thing. Also, listening to the
guy banter on during their hold music is worth the phone call alone. As always, the Schroth guys are super knowledgeable and helpful about their product.
In the "this will make my life EASIER" category was replacing the janky brake-bleed-screw-as-fuel-bleed port with a nice Jiffy-Tite 2000 series fitting that matches the Jiffy-tite socket that came with the Stohr DSR.
The brake bleed screw seemed to leak and spray all over the place, whereas this is 100% leak-free. MUCH nicer solution.
And finally, in the GOD DAMMIT category, is noting that two small nut plates had fallen off onto the floor of the car while putting in some spacers to adjust rear camber. It looks like I threaded the bolts
out too far while making room for the camber spacers, so I get to remove the spar top plate and see whatís going on under there Ė I suspect Iíll have to put in longer bolts under there just like I did
on the WF-1 last fall.
Keeping At It
Some miscellaneous items on the list for today, trying to get the car ready to go:
- I removed the left-hand side panel to find the brake fluid leak coming from union on the flare fittings for the brake lines.
- I also noticed a leak from under the steering rack - looks like I simply never tightened the AN fitting which attached to the adapters onto the hard line.
- The seat having now fully cured, we cut and trimmed the seat extensively, including the quarter-moon shape to allow for easy removal from the tub. We also cut the
harness holes, and did some initial fitting of the harnesses. 2" long 3/8-24 bolts along with some 3/8 steel tube spacers allowed us to mount the shoulder belts at the
proper height. Some shorter bolts mounted the lap belts and sub straps.
Having talked briefly with Stohr about how to install the pedals and the pedal closeout panel, we did the final install on the pedals. a piece of 1"x2"x1/8" angle aluminum mounted
on the floor of the car provided a heel support 1" from the pedal base, and some leftover 1x1x1x1/8" C-Channel made for a convenient way to mount the closeout panel, and also the panel
to the floor.
We also did the final install of shift paddles and brake bias cable, and began buttoning up the bodywork.
My Kingdom for a Nut
Big day today, lots of things done! Unfortunately, one critical thing just didn't quite make it.
All images in this directory.
Now THAT's Camber!
- Most importantly, and hugely time-consumingly, we made the Bead Seat today. This is the kit provided
from Stohr, which is the Bald Spot Sports 'medium' kit. As before, once I get a chance to verify
that it's fitting OK after all trimming and such, I'll cover it with the nifty padded OMP Karting Seat fabric
- I did the final install of the engine side of the shift cable now that I have a longer bolt to install
the slave cylinder properly, and a spacer or two.
I installed the new master cylinders from Stohr, sized for the PFC calipers.
Found and fixed an oil leak from the oil pressure sender (read: tightened the finger-tight fitting)
Installed and tensioned the new chain. As it turns out, the RK chain breaker I've been using
for the past few years is also a dandy chain rivet tool. For some reason I never noticed that,
and had still been using the super-dodgy Motion Pro tool for riveting my master links. That one
is now in the garbage.
With the seat made, it was possible to set the final pedal location. Soon we'll install the
footrest/steering rack closeout panel and make a small heel pad. Along with that, I was able
to set the clutch pedal stop and height appropriately. Brakes will have to wait until the whole
system goes together. As of yet, there remains some leaks in the hard lines from front to rear...ARGH.
Ever-amazing, CD Fasteners was able to find some tiny M3 (?) set screws to thread into the perches
on the Penskes to keep the collars in place - this is a much cleaner solution than the ubiquitous
The oh-so-close moment came tonight when doing the initial setup on the car. Everything done, car on the scales, heights set,
and time to set camber. LF looks good, let's set the RF. Hmm, the camber adjuster won't seem to turn. Fast forward plenty of phenagling,
cursing, control arm removal, and finally some good-old-fashioned 'pull until it strips', I was able to determine that the camber adjustment
in the RF upper control arm was totally galled and not ever going to move. Also seemed to make it impossible to tighten down the rod end sufficiently
to be able to actually set the camber.
So, we're boned for Friday's race. Thanks for playing...you're O for 2 in making races so far. @*)!*#(@!
Keep At It
It's been a few weeks of assembling the car now, and boy am I starting to get weary! Between work,
the thrash to try and get ready for Laguna Seca, and keeping my home life in order (!), there's hardly
been a spare moment.
Totally digging the blue on the wings:
Sprocket/Diff: After a quick call to JRO, I was able to confirm that I had the sprocket
installed correctly (machined portion inward on the diff flange), and that the problem allowing
the diff pinch bolts to contact the sprocket was simply that the bolts needed to be cut down. Since
pulling those bolts means removing the diff, I removed the sprocket and chain, and used the air grinder
to grind them down. Problem solved.
FlatShifter: One of the interesting tidbits about the FlatShifter is that the
sensor is M6x1.25 thread, and the shift cable from the Stohr is 1/4-28. So, to attach the two,
you either have to rethread the sensor, or make a small adapter. Since even a small adapter
just seemed to add too much length to the system, I ended up buying a 1/4-28 bottoming tap from
CD Fasteners, and re-threaded the sensor. easy-cheesy.
With as much as is still left to do on the car, we were forced to make the call against going to Laguna Seca today. Without a chance to do a test day to sort the car out, making the 1,500 mile
trek just seems a bit too optimistic. Time will tell if being conservative was the right choice, but given how many things there are to get exactly right on the car, I can't imagine that
the first test will be flawless. So, we'll re-group and try for the May Daze school/regional at HPR this Friday.
Despite all of the difficulties and disappointments getting the car assembled and ready up until this point, one real high point was doing the final checks on the engine today,
puttting in a bit of fuel, and having it kick to life with hardly so much as an extra turn on the starter. It settled down to a nice perfect idle, and I had to sniff a little bit - all the
hard work and detail of wiring and plumbing everything, and it all seemed to work perfectly. Happiness. Happy that Mom, Dad, Amy, Gigi and Manel were all there to see it and celebrate a little.
And Yet...The Last Straw
Sometimes, when enough is stacked against you, you just sort of have to throw in the towel.
The final 'you are not going to Laguna' struck home today when no package arrived from FedEx for Saturday
delivery, that package carrying the needed axle cups for Chris's borrowed WRD diff. Turns out the package
somehow or another didn't get marked for Saturday delivery...so the box will arrive on Monday with
my diff and cups. *sigh*
At least one thing appears to have gone VERY right with the project, and that would be the paint
work done by Chemical Skin of Loveland. Brandon and his
guys came through with all the pieces and parts. The large flake metallic looks killer,
and happily, the purple/blue color is this goregous iridescent color that changes based
on the angle you're looking. Outstanding!
Build Day: 6
More assembly today!
- Wiring: wired in the O2 sensor and did the final (hah) tie-back of the dash and its various wiring today. The whole dash/datalogger and accessory
power blocks are completely wired up and ready to go now, so with luck, all of the magic smoke will stay where it belongs on the car.
- Fuel Lines: I also did the final tie-back of the under-seat-back fuel lines, and did all the final attachment of those.
- Radio/PDR: Finishing up the various accessory wiring, I ran power/ground to the radio and PDR100 video recorder, and made some
nice Deutsch connectors for those to ease R&R if need be.
Dash: I did the first power-up of the car via the master switch, and happiness, no smoke or fire. I uploaded a base dash configuration
that I'd built using the old MXL configuration from my DSR, and it all seems to be working quite well.
Suspension: I began checking and measuring the control arms for being square to the car, as well as beginning to go through and do a first
pass at nut-and-bolt'ing the car to ensure everything is (should be) tight. I also began installing the axles, but realized I'm missing fasteners, so I'll make a trip to
CD Fasteners and get the M8 inners and 5/16-24 outers.
Build Day: 5
Another big day of assembly today, pushing to try and have everything ready in time for Laguna. The car is still looking depressingly bare, however, but I know it will come together quickly
as a lot of the details get sorted out...
- Engine: I finally sunk the engine in the back of the car today, now that the last of the spacers and bits have arrived from Stohr. Dad drilled the engine mounts
while I got the engine hung on its rear mounts, and everything went together without too much difficulty up front.
The F1000's engine mount arrangement
is a bit more awkward than the DSR, in that the lower ear of the spar also lines up with the frame, meaning that the bolt must line up with an awful lot of things to get
through OK. I used an air rachet to push it through, while also loosening the main trunion bolts that hold the car together, and that made everthing line up without too much fuss.
Final situation of the engine meant that I could install some of the really fun stuff like the header, which looks quite nice, and the muffler mount is quite nice as well.
- Plumbing: With the engine in place, I was able to finalize a lot of the lines - the fuel line from the firewall to the fuel rail, which I did in braided stainless,
and covered in the heat shielding provided by Stohr.
For the upper and lower water lines, I used the provided tubing with the snaky-metal-stuff inside to keep the tubes from collapsing. Nice solution, that. With the upper water line created,
I was also able to mark, drill, and mount the water tank, which lives on the upper firewall.
- Engine Wiring: With the engine now situated, that also meant I could finalize the lengths on the engine wiring harness, and also finalize the lengths and put Deutsch
connectors on the FlatShifter bits to get that part wired happily.
Build Day: 4
More assembly today after work, though a briefer list since I had only a few hours after finishing my daily 'sponsorship obligations'. Today was finalizing tieback
of a lot of the wiring harness, and powering up the dash briefly to ensure the electrons were behaving as requested, though there is still a lot of wiring to add -
it all looks very simple right now, doesn't it?
We also clearanced the seatback panel slightly to ensure it would completely clear the shoulder straps, so as to make sure those would not chafe over time. The factory
openings are just a bit small. After doing a quick test-fit of the engine with just the bolts to hold it in place, I rerouted the right-rear brake lines to the leading
edge of the control arm to try and get them out of the exhaust just a little bit.
As a precursor to test-fitting the engine, I installed various engine bits such as the -8 oil fitting adapters, oil temp sensor , and the oil pressure sensor using a M16x1.5
adapter with a 1/8NPT hole in it. Good stuff.
Unsurprisingly, the engine harness from George is spot-on, and looks quite nice.
I also finished up the battery mount from the night before, so hopefully that will do everything we need it to for now...
Build Day 3: Can't sleep, the clowns will get me
Been a few very long days thus far getting started on this car. By the end of this night, I was falling asleep as I worked, so I decided it was time to call it a night. The 30 minute
drive home from the shop was a rough one!
As such, just a laundry-list of things done today:
- Mounted the EVO4 and various associated boxes down low in the foot box
- Continued making all the electrical routing and such with deutsch connectors
- Mounted the fuel filter using some 2.25" Adel clamps from McMaster-Carr, leftover from the Radical project.
- Mounted the Fuel Pressure Regulator on the rear firewall thanks to some pictures from Stohr suggesting locations for various routing
- Made some simple brackets to mount the radio and PDR up front near the pedal box
- Checked initial routing for the O2 sensor
- Installed the metric caliper studs with a few metric nuts, red-loctited everything in place. These are WOW.
- Completed figuring out where all the brake lines go front-to-rear, and loosely installed them
- Completed (almost) the battery bracket that Dad started, and test-installed the lower seatback panel.
Build Day 2: What can we complete?
The first real day of working on the car made it clear: there's a pretty long road ahead to getting everything assembled on this car - and at the moment, there are a fair amount of parts we're
waiting for from Stohr to finish various assemblies. So, we took a shotgun approach and just started doing whatever we could from the pile of parts that we do have. Time to get to work!
- With a good supply of wire, connectors and such, we began all the dash wiring for the various sensors and datalogging. This runs down the left side of the car with the shifter
cable. I was able to also pretty much completely wire the FlatShifter and the blipper box.
- I R&R'd the shocks to install the Hyperco spring perches
- We did an initial install of the (WOW) PFC calipers on their studs, to start seeing how the lines and everything are going to fit together.
- The bolts for adjusting the rear diff needed to be installed, so I pulled off the top cover to the spar and installed those. That step is fine since we still need a
diff from somewhere as well...
- I installed and routed some of the main battery cables - ground, power to master, and the two large cables from the starter solenoid, and down to approximately where the starter will live.
- I also routed the lines and gray auxilary plug connector from the rear wing support, should we ever need that for a small battery boost.
- Roughly positioned some of the fuel system bits, getting a sense of where they are intended to go
- Mom and Dad spent a bunch of time making various little brackets, installing gold heat reflective foil, and generally helping me get small tasks done to focus on
what we could complete - having 3 people working on the car full tilt sure helped!
It's here It's here It's here It's here It's....
After a much-shorter-than-anticipated 2-day transit time from Portland, I got a call from the BATS motorsports driver that they were ready to drop the car off in Loveland today. I hurried up
from Denver to meet them, and we got going on unloading the car. It must be said - high marks for the BATS folks, they were really nice to work with - I'd definitely use them again.
Well, sort of. Turns out they had a problem with their generator, which would not run. No matter, we plugged into my shop power. Except that they kept popping the breakers. So, we got out
my small generator, and that did the trick....Except that their liftgate would not move. We removed the plug, which resembled some kind of Frankenstein'd trailer plug, and found some bad connections
with my multimeter, then set about actually getting the car out of the trailer.
The car arrived in bare 'glass, as expected, though unexpected was the amount of boxes that came with it. My understanding had been the car was essentially complete but for engine and dash,
but as it turns out, there is a mountain of assembly to do - the car stuffed with boxes of master cylinders, parts, fittings, lines, pedal assembly, airbox, and all manner of pieces that go
into making the complete car. This will be a mountain of work if I ever think I'll make Laguna, so we'll have to see how it goes - I think I misunderstood what 'roller' meant?
On the upside, everything looks typically well made for Stohr, and the new wing package is gorgeous, so I'm looking forward to the process. We'll see how it goes!
With the car unloaded, I began a frantic removal of the bodywork, in case Pat can get the guys at Don's to sneak the bodywork in for paint, but we'll see. As a backup plan, I have a
reference from Mark at SCR, one Brandon Coddington at Chemical Skin in Loveland.
We'll begin assembly tomorrow!
Once again I find myself embarking on a new race car project. This time we're starting a bit differently, with a car that is largely competitive from the get-go,
rather than being a problem-child that needs lots of attention while gradually being brought up to speed.
Differences between the F1000 and the DSR should be interesting, especially as I'll be taking a step backwards speed-wise for the first time in my racing career. That said,
it doesn't seem to be much of a step backwards, as stock-for-stock, the F1000's are QUITE close to my best DSR times already, and with further development, it seems that they will
continue to get faster. The wider track width helps everywhere for the F1000, and as the aero improves more and more, I would expect that the new car will probably be right
at the 1:40 mark at HPR just like my old car was.
Similarly, Brandon Dixon's pole time this year of a 2:06.x at Road America is very similar to the 2:06 that I set in 2010 with my stock-engined car, so it seems a realistic expectation
that the new car will feel a lot like the old one, and turn very similar overall lap times. I cannot wait to find out!