Tuesday, August 30, 2016

No Car Work This Weekend - It was RACE WEEKEND!

Dateline - 08/27 and 08/28 2016 - Didn't work on the car this weekend because I spent the weekend racing!  You may remember that I drive with Team Odin back in April (http://leapingv8s.blogspot.com/2016/04/worked-on-another-car-this-weekend.html ) and believe it or not, they invited me back!  So this weekend I got to get some serious time behind the wheel of a race car and we had a great run to boot! We did the entire weekend without removing the hood or coming in for mechanical issues except for one black flag for a fuel leak (more on that below). 

We did have a rocky start though.  First, there were over 70 cars signed up to race and LeMons didn't do much in the way of organization in the paddock area so by the time Chris got there (around 1:00 pm) the entire paddock area was completely full, so we had to park way out in the dirt!​

Next was car tech inspection.  Two things failed.  We needed a passenger door roll bar cross member (new to 2015 rules and only needed for LeMons) and the fuel cell vent needed to end below the bottom of the tank.  Ours was terminated in the fender above the tank.  The argument was that if the car rolls over and the vent valve does not close, fuel will drain into the car.  It's a fair cop, but LeMons is the only one with this rule and the car ran for five years as it was.  But you have to fix what they tell you to or you don't race!

So ​Friday we went running around trying to find a piece of non-seam 1-3/4" roll bar stock that we could weld into the car.  After purchasing a piece at the junk yard, and finding a good piece from someone in the paddock, Derek spent a couple hours cutting and welding the pipe in place into a very cramped space, in 90 degree heat! 

The fuel cell vent was pretty easy to fix.  We just ran the hose down the fender and through a rust hole that was already there, but needed a little widening with a pair of pliers. Tech inspection the next morning went fine and both items passed. 

Because we had a "very special car," we got to line up to be first on the track Saturday and actually lead a couple of laps (picture below of Chris sitting in the paddock ready to go out) but very early in the run, we got black flagged for a fuel leak.  Apparently our re-routed vent hose was siphoning fuel out of the tank when we took a hard right turn.  We were told, "Fix it and fix it right.  If we black flag you again for fuel leaks you are done for the weekend."  So we re-routed it back where it was before at the top of the fender and added a bunch of fuel line from there back to the hole at the bottom of the fender. No more fuel leaks.

Car 54 - Team Odin getting ready to launch on Saturday
A look at the cars behind us at the start
The rest of Saturday was pretty uneventful until the last hour of the race.  We had four drivers, Chris, Jeromy (new),  me (almost new) and Derek driving in that order.  We each got a chance to drive twice for one hour except for Derek who's last run was 30 minutes and he took the checker.  About 20 minutes before the end of my run, we lost the brake booster and all of the sudden the car wouldn't stop.  In the process, because I was still driving hot, I cooked the brakes and so by the time Derek got to drive, there was very little stopping left in the car, but we did get to the finish in one piece. The funny thing was that when Derek got out of the car, he said, "You told me that the brakes were bad.  WHAT BRAKES!"

We brought the car in, changed the brakes on all four corners and rotated the tires, and were good to go for the next day.  We didn't have a spare brake booster with us so we knew Sunday was going to require a lot more shifting and right leg work.

Sunday we started off early and had a very solid run.  Car ran fine, speeds were pretty good and the weather didn't get hot enough for us to put on the Cool Shirts.  Chris drove for an hour, Jeromy drive for a hour, I drove for a hour, Derek drove for a hour.  Then, because it was a shorter race, Chris and
Derek sat out their turns, letting Jeromy and me drive for the last 1.5 hours.  I got the chance to take checker, which was surprisingly more fun and exciting than I thought it was going to be!

By the end of the day, we were really clicking as a team.  We had timing down, driver changes down, no black flags (except for the first one) and we didn't hit anyone (but there were some serious close calls!)

So, some stats:
  • Total Laps: 298
  • Total Miles: 750
  • Place overall: 37 out of 67
  • Place in C-Class: 3rd out of 14 and only 2 laps down from 2nd.  The car in 1st place had ~15 laps on 2nd, so there was no catching up.
Milestones for the team:
  • Most number of laps run in one race
  • First race that didn't require major (hood off) mechanical repairs
  • First race that didn't require tire changes (Did 3 race days on the same set of Cooper Zeon tires and they were really sticky!)
Milestones for me:
  • ​​3:45 hours of racing.
  • First Checker flag
  • Full one hour stints behind the wheel
  • Didn't go off track!
  • My fastest lap time - 2:30
  • And feeling much more comfortable flogging a car around the track and really taking it to the edge at times.
The next race is in October, again at The Ridge, but this time with Lucky Dog, like the April race.  Unfortunately, I have a fishing trip planned for the same weekend (21/22) so I will not be able to race.  So this may have been the last race for me this year.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Putting It All Back Together

Dateline - 08/20 and 08/21, 2016 - Spent the weekend putting things back on the car.  I wanted to concentrate on one area at a time so I started to work on the trunk early in the day before it got too hot.  I was able to put on most of the chrome and license plate before it got too hot (with the garage door open I'm in the direct sun.  It took longer then expected because, well just because.

Once it got too hot to work on the trunk, I closed the door and moved to the front of the car,  I installed the side markers and front blinker/driving lights.  This was a pretty straight forward if fiddly job.  Having all the gaskets I needed helped a lot.

I also fiddled a bit with the doors and the headlights but didn't really finish anything.  Here's a picture of the front of the car with side markers and front blinkers.

Front with side makers and turn signals installed

By about 2:00 pm it was too hot in the garage to work comfortably so I went into the house and relaxed for a few hours.  In the evening, I pulled out all the chrome and found some of the pieces I had not finished polishing and went to work cleaning them up.  I also cleaned and reassembled the front quarter lights.  I had purchased new gaskets for them so had to get everything fitting correctly.  I also put new seals into the outside window scrapers.  This was also fiddly work that took more time then one would expect.

Sunday, I was able to spend more time on the car because it was a lot cooler.  I was able to put time into finishing the truck which included mounting latch mechanism and the knob.  I had bought a good used lock from a guy parting out a series 1 and swapped out the the good handle for the badly pitted one that was on my car.  I then mounted everything so that the trunk now closes!

I also worked on the backup lights and the license plate lights.  The left backup light worked fine, but the right one had a bad connection that required that I pull the light off the car and reset a connection.  After fixing that, I ran all the wires into the trunk lid to the hing and wired everything up.  Both the backup lights work now as well as the little LED license plate lights I'm using.  These are small lights that make up the top two license plate bolts.  These should work pretty well.

I have put some Jaguar lettering and a Jaguar V8 symbol on order to fill in the blank spaces on the trunk.  Here is a picture with what I completed this weekend:

Trunk mostly completed
For the rest of the day, I started installing some of the chrome pieces, starting at the rain gutters and the passenger and drive side door.  I also placed but did not install the quarter lights.  There is a lot of chrome on this car!

That was it for the weekend.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Major Milestone! The Car Has Doors (And Hood, And Trunk Lid)

Dateline - 08/13/2016 - This was panel hanging weekend.  Matt and Karen came over and helped me hang all the panels.  It was a hot day on Saturday and we sweated a lot in my hot garage, but managed to get the trunk, hood, all four doors and the back fender valances hung and except for one small cut finger, no major accidents or injuries!  Matt and I were pretty knackered by the end of the day though and so we all went out to Outback Steakhouse for dinner (because yours truly didn't get the stakes out of the freezer in time to thaw completely!).

Matt brought his cameras over to log what was going on and took some really cool wide angle lens shots (the wide angle makes my stomach look bigger then it really is.  Honest!)  He also set up a camera that took a picture every 15 seconds and made a really cool time laps video.  All are included below:

Mounting trunk lid

Trunk lid mounted

Taking off hood latch so we could close the hood for fitting

All the relays in the dash

Interior dash

The usual state of my workbench!  Okay! Not the cleanest work area in the world!

Interior with doors closed

Dash from the top

And here is the video on YouTube.com

On Sunday, I did some more fitting.  I ended up taking the hood off again because I could not get the latches to work.  I had welded down the tongues on the hood which took away the flexibility needed for them to engage with the latches.  So I had to take the hood off and beat in the area of the hood that meets with the hinges.  This positioned the hood back about 1/2 inch when closed, and allowed the tongues to insert correctly into the latches.

I also mounted the front valance piece that runs between the fenders under the bumper.  This wasn't too difficult but we had run out of energy on Saturday to do this.

I was really sore on Sunday and it was getting hot again, so I ran out of steam pretty quickly, but I did manage to get one door seal mounted on the driver side front door.  Then I called it quits!

Still have a ways to go, but big progress none the less!

Thank you Matt and Karen for the help!!!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Made Great Progress on Interior

Dateline - 08/06/2016 - Worked two days this weekend to get the dash and center console in.  The center console was tricky, but because I had fitted everything so much before hand, everything fit pretty well.  The tricky part was re-figuring out how the vacuum connections needed to go together to get the climate controls to work.  But after about five hours, I had everything in and working!  Climate controls, air flow, heat, fans, switches and radio.

On Sunday I worked on the driver side dash.  I needed to rewire the information center because I had changed how the lights worked and which ones did what.  It took some figuring, but fortunately, I had a diagram I had put together originally that stated which wires did what, so it was a matter of transcribing the old and new and soldering the wires back together.  Once that was done, I was able to mount the dash.

After mounting the dash, I tried the lights and everything worked until I tried the dimmer. I noticed that the center gauges did not dim.  It was then that I realized the I had screwed up!  The dimmer that I am using for the lights needs to have both the hot and ground go to the dimmer switch.  When I wired the gauges, I ganged all the grounds together back to chassis ground.  So I had to take the gauges out again and rewire them so that the ground ran back to dimmer.  This meant that I had to pull the driver side dash out one more time.   After an hour of rewiring and refitting, I had everything in the car and it's all working correctly now.

I still have some work to do on the center console to get the gear selector lights working, but that should be a minor amount of work.  I'm also sewing new shifter and parking brake boots out of the tan vinyl to get rid of some of the overwhelming black center console.

Here are pictures:

Center console installed sans shifter and e-brake boots
Complete dash

Monday, August 1, 2016

Another car had my Attention

Dateline - 07/31/2016 - This weekend I worked on the Team Odin Race Car in preparation for the upcoming race on August 27/28 at The Ridge.  This is a LeMons race, and my first in this series.

After the engine replacement during the April race, we had a very bad vibration in the car.  We didn't know if it was the engine or something connected to it.  So Chris and Derek put the car up on the stand and we removed the transmission and started it to see if we could feel the vibration.  It was there.  So we removed the clutch and pressure plate and ran it.  Still there.  So then we started swapping flywheels.  We found that a Rover flywheel had the least amount of vibration through the entire range.  Of course, the rover flywheel would not match the clutch we had, but Chris had a low miles rover clutch in house, so we put everything back together and it felt very good.  So the car is ready for race day!

As for the Jag, I did do some work.  I drew up and etched yet a third circuit board that took out the load resisters and depended upon the 12 volt diodes I originally used.  I'm waiting for a couple of diodes to come in that I ordered to finish that.

I also worked on carbon center console.  I finished sanding and put four coats of lacquer clear on it.  After a good wet sanding, polishing compound, Cleaner wax and final waxing, it looks really good.  Not perfect, but hay, it's all done by hand, not machine!  I put all the components into it last night (Radio, switches, lighters, air vents, cup holder) so now it is ready to mount in the center console!  This is a big deal!  I've done a lot of work to get this part done, and I'm happy to be at the point that I can install it.

I've only a few things left to do inside the car.  We are planning on hanging panels in two weeks, so it is getting down to the wire!  Very, very cool.