Sooooooo Close

Sorry for the distinct lack of updates. We have been busy.

We will get into more detail but we are very close to having a complete race car. The cage needs about 2-3 more bars. Seat is in, belts and net needs mounted. Battery is now relocated, kill switch is in. Engine is purring like a kitten, well a 3 pack a day kitten.

We were all set to go to AMP the first weekend in November. Then while browsing the forums… AMP is full. Turns out due to track size they only allow 40 cars.

Damn….

 

So we are left with 2 options. Charlotte, a 10 hour 1 day race on Nov 22 or take advantage of a track day at Roebling Road.

 

I’ve said this before, and I’m sure my dumba$$ will say it again. I will never build another cage without a tubing notcher.

Undoing the work of an accomplished electrical engineer

So today we met in Ball Ground to work on the Supra, which started with several unsuccessful attempts to get the car up to the garage under its own power. We ended up winching it up the hill with the F250, which seemed to barely even notice the 3000 lbs+ it was pulling up a 10 % grade. After some discussion about the frames rigidity we decided the  front seat supports should go, Rick cut them out with a torch ( only exclaiming Fire! twice). After this we started working on removing excess wiring. This consisted of removing any wiring harnesses that were not attached to anything and periodically “testing” to make sure that the engine still cranked up and we hadn’t cut anything too critical. Turd Bucket has also accepted a new driver Daniel Wood and a new mechanic \ lackey Patrick Nelson. We anticipate participating in the Chump event at Atlanta Motorsports Park in November, assuming we can actually meet more than once a quarter.

 

A sampling of the wiring we deemed unnecessary  and removed.

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Race seat in place, but not mounted.

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We decided that the factory tail light fixtures were an opportunity for weight savings and removed them. We plan on attaching several sets of trailer tail lights.

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Pain in the Glass!

Sorry we’ve been neglecting our readers for the past little while.  We’ll make it up to both of you, we promise!

We’ve had a couple of work days since the last post, and made some pretty decent progress.

The first work day, we picked up where we left off last time, with a partially disassembled non-running Supra.  While Rick and Zed went to work at getting the crank pulley off with a torch, an airgun, and a few choice words, Byron replaced brake lines.  Andrew was off doing something beard-related, I think.  The pulley finally yielded and we were able to replace timing belt that was beyond cracked and into “canyoned” territory.  The brake fluid was disturbingly brown and… chunky… ick.

Once the brake lines and timing belt was done, we fixed the fan clutch that never locked up, regardless of temperature.  By fixed, I mean we drove two sheetmetal screws through its clutch plates.  We also got a small weight-saving by draining out all of the fluid that was in it that had the color and consistency of caramel.

On to work day number two!  The primary goal for the day was the removal of all of the glass and cutting the polycarbonate to replace the windshield.  The day started with Andrew going to look for an actual windshield removal tool while the rest of us started breaking razor blades and occasionally cutting through some of the sealant holding the glass in.  Then, suddenly, the silence was broken by a rather loud bang and “Ah crap!” from Zed.  So much for getting all the glass out without any breakage.

The rest of the glass came out without much drama.  The windshield cracks expanded a bit, but that was expected.  The last piece of glass left in the car was the rear windshield.  We let Byron and his new friend, the dead-blow mallet take it from here:

Looks like a kid on Christmas morning, don’t he?  Or a serial killer.  One of the two, anyway.

-Zed

Workday: Who needs a timing belt

Rick here with the exciting Another workday this past weekend. Andrew wasn’t able to make it, but we still got some decent work done. First off Rick found a set of Supra Wheels and tires for $100 and Andrew headed out and grabbed them up. The interesting part is the seller was not a ghetto mobile owner that upgrades to Rimz (note the Z) but instead a race organizer who specialized in maintaining and providing services to millionaires. His race trailer was better equipped than the TBR Shop. One of his client had bought a 88 supra for the LeMons race. I guess when you own a 40K+ track day car a set of racing wheel is a bit easier to swing. Andrew didn’t seem to manage to steal any Supra setup secrets, though I would guess “Keep it running” topped the list.

This solved one lingering issue. We now have 2 full sets of wheels and 3 spares (which we will need…). Also we no longer have to pump up the front passenger tire every single workday.

The workday started with some workshop changes. Before anyone asks I am still moving. Almost all my crap is in one place (minus 140 sq ft of pavers…), however I am expecting to be done unpacking completely around the year 2026. We did have one longstanding headache, the compressor. For most people moving a compressor involves a carry handle and plugging a cord in. For someone who had a pep boys shop manager drooling over the air lines in the old shop moving a compressor involves a lift gate, building a pad and shed, running a 25 amp 220 circuit outdoors. We were able to get the power hooked up and have run temporary lines for the garage.

So with the power of air we started on the car. By this point it was almost noon so we decided to work on the timing belt and brake lines. Byron took on the lines and Zed and Rick started tearing into the engine. We quickly got sidetracked and decided to rip anything remaining out of the engine bay. Soon we were lighter all the AC lines, filter, charcoal canister and numerous single ended hoses. The entire passenger side of the engine is now wonderfully accessible.

Zed and Rick then attacked the front end of the engine with a few goals:

  •  Drain and flush coolant (Per the rules no AntiFreeze. Only water and Water Wetter)
  • Replace the T-Stat
  • Fix the fan clutch (currently does not lock while hot)
  • Replace hoses
  • Replace timing belt & tensioner
  • Clean up engine

After we got the belts off, t-stat out we peeled off the upper timing cover. Honestly I am not sure how we made it to Jasper with the car in the first place. If you turn to the “Inspecting the Timing Belt” section of any Haynes manual this one failed all the checks. Suddenly we were glad we had not taken the gamble on the timing before the first race.

A teaser of the timing belt

Next step was to remove the crank pulley and lower cover. Put the impact gun on the pulley bolt. Nothing. Cranked on it a couple times, no movement. A quick Google made sure that it was normal threaded so we hit it with the Kroil (amazing stuff) and then a little while later the propane torch. Nothing at all. At this point we realized Byron was still working on the first brake line and it was getting late. We decided for the first time ever to admit defeat and put the car back out not running.

Tow Rig Tech

We have been working on getting the car ready. Thanks to delays in moving we are going to miss the first race, however are now looking at the CMS and VIR races. It’s a drive but not that bad (6 hours to VIR).

This brought up a good point, towing. This car is not taggable, nor do we want to pay for insurance, tag fees, ad valorem, etc. Enter the need for a tow rig. I (Rick) have a 99 F250 diesel that was originally bought as a DD and Jeep towing. It is a pure work truck with a winch on the front, tommy gate on the back and endless dents in the middle. It’s even white to add to the image.

The truck runs great other than the clutch, which lets the truck creep up a hill with the pedal on the floor and actually hurts to push down. I have worked around this for 2 years with a combination of clutchless shifting and not stopping unless absolutely necessary (I swear officer the clutch made me do it). It gets driven about twice a month, and I honestly have no idea when the last oil change was. Or so it was until last month when I needed to move and it got pressed into heavy service. The trucks response was a big middle finger for not showing it any love for a year and then beating the crap out of it.

First one of the tommy gate cables snapped. I partially blame operator error, but the cable was slight frayed. A visit to my new favorite website www.amazonsupply.com (formerly SmallParts.com) hooked me up with some Stainless 7/32 cable and ferrules. A couple Craigslist searches turned up a set of manual NicoPress crimpers. Combine these with a possible hernia and we have a working liftgate again.

Next the winch solenoid stopped allowing the cable to pull in, only spool out. Right at the same time my truck got stuck with a trailer in icy mud…. It’s a 10k HF winch, contacted Harbor Freight for a replacement. After finding that the replacement costs 30% the cost of a new one you can expect to see a tutorial on solenoid rebuilding soon…

Finally the truck started leaking diesel. After a week it started pouring diesel. After some flashlight work and research I discovered 2 common causes – orings or passenger side fuel line. Being paranoid and preferring the overkill route I did both. The parts were ordered from www.dieselorings.com. The fuel bowl was first, and Guzzle’s directions on the website are spot on perfect. Next was the fuel line, and that was a PITA. It runs from the left side of the fuel bowl under the turbo spider to the rear of the passenger side head where it connects to a fitting. There are 2 issues with this – first is that they used these things called “Parker fuel sleeves” that wear out after a while and are not available at most parts stores, second is a clamp under the turbo that vibrates and wears a hole in the steel line. I don’t have a good way to photograph the process but the basic method is:

  1. Remove Fuel Bowl – This is optional, however if this is leaking all the other fittings will soon, plus it makes everything else easier. You will need fuel sleeves for both heads, the inlet and outlet. If you buy the rebuild kit from Guzzle it has everything for about $20
  2. Follow the fuel line with your hand till you reach the clamp. Mine was already undone, but you may need to remove the nut from the mounting stud
  3. Reach behind the passenger head. The fitting will stick out at about a 45* angle toward the turbo. To remove it I would highly recommend using a short (3″) open end wrench. Even with the short wrench you will only get about a quarter turn at most. Repeat and cuss till you get it off.
  4. Once you have it loose it can be removed from the front. It will take some finagling to get all the bends past the turbo.
  5. Throw the POS on the floor and cuss the engineer that designed it.
  6. Install the new one

Not knowing was I was doing but having all the right tools took me about 3 hours to rebuild the fuel bowl and replace the hose. Overall I would rate it a 2/5 on difficulty and a 4/5 on PITA.

Oh, and we now have a trailer to haul the turd on.

Market Research

This morning Zed and I woke up before the sun and drove up to Road Atlanta – Chumpcar ran a 14 hour enduro today and we thought it would be a good idea to check out the competition and collect some information.

Things we learned:

Chumpcar competitors for the most part are a very friendly crew

Honda Civics burns through 5 gallons of fuel per hour on the track – I’d put our usage estimate at closer to 8-10 gallons per hour

We should expect to burn through 1-2 sets of tires of the course of the 14 hour race

Brakes may need to be changed every 2-4 hours.

Even a race spec SCCA car can catch on fire and be done for the day within a few laps – I’d say our odds are even less.

More to follow,

Andrew

Workday Part II: The Unfiltering

We had a last-minute mostly-unplanned mini-workday this weekend.  We took away one valuable lesson from the work:  if we ever have to change the fuel filter again, we’re paying Jiffy Lube the $20 to do it.  Screw that noise.  Whichever Toyota engineer decided to put it directly over the differential needs a swift kick in the shins.  The filter has been finally and painfully replaced.  At least all the fuel dumping out of the lines cleaned all the little cuts we got in the process.  All of the wheels have been pressure washed so that you can see that they are in fact made of metal and not some alloy of soot and mud, and the interior of the car has been measured for a roll cage.  Not a super productive day (we blame you, fuel filter), but forward motion is still better than no motion.

I took some video of the car that I’ll post eventually.  Until then, here’s the transcript from said video:

Car: “blub blub blub VRRRRRRMMM” *emits smoke* “blub blub VRRRM” *emits smoke* “VRRRRRRRRM VRRRM blub blub blub.”

 

-Zed

An update before we’re all too stuffed to type

We are at the time of year where we give thanks, spend time with family, and eat more food in a day than we normally do in a week.

TBR will have a lot of work lined up once we wake up from tryptophan-induced hibernation.  The car will temporarily be tasked with hauling tools and such over to Rick’s new house before it gets back to being turned into a race car.  The major things on the plate once we get get settled into the new shop space are:

  • Roll cage.  No cage, no race.
  • Wiring.  The car needs a master cut-off switch and removal of all the random unknown wires so we can continue to be not-on-fire.
  • Vacuum lines.  Much swearing will ensue, I’m sure.
  • Installing gauges that actually work.  Giant chrome tach has already been acquired.
While we may not be actively working on the car right now, we’re still hunting parts and spares all along.  We should have enough boxes of stuff from RockAuto, eBay, Amazon, etc. to keep us busy for a while.

Have a happy Thanksgiving from the crazy, I mean nice folks at TBR!  Go eat a turkey leg for me.  Vegetarians, eat more mashed potatoes for me since that tofurkey stuff is nasty…

 

-Zed

Technical findings so far…

A few items that we found while tearing the car down:

  • The spark plugs had been gapped with a tape measure. Several were larger than the gauge read, even the smallest was 10 thou over spec
  • Parts of old plug wires were still in the spark plug holes
  • Whoever made the CAI had the ability to weld aluminum, yet could not cut a clean hole
  • The toyota engineer who make removing the intake necessary to change plugs will be in the same circle of hell as the jeep engineer who liked torx bolts. They still do this crap as 20 years later
  • Despite having 4 die grinders, 2 air nibblers and 6 angle grinders Rick doesn’t have a simple air rachet
  • Rubber hoses that crack in half need to be replaced. Actually anything that was rubber and is 25 years old needs to be replaced

First Workday

This past Sunday we all rolled out of bed too early and met up at the workshop in Jasper. We had grand plans of tuning the car to be more race worthy – but spent much of our time in line at nearby auto parts stores. Below is a shot of Byron scraping old valve cover gasket material, one of the little unplanned pitstops on the road to victory lane in February. We fought against time, a stubborn fuel filter and Rick’s cat. We likely won’t have another work day until after Thanksgiving.

Andrew