Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Isuzu Vehicross is Hannibal Lecter

On my commute in to work today, a turn of the millennium Isuzu Vehicross was behind me.

As I was in my Boxster, I could only see a small slice of the grill and it struck me that it looked just like Hannibal Lecter's mask in the 1991  film Silence of the Lambs.

I still think Hannibal is more frightening than the V6 powered high rider.

That's all, just an observation.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Sweet Vermouth Not Just for Over Weight Women

I have been boringly devoted to the Brown Bomber lately. Posting about bringing it up to track ready condition with a determination only a coal miner with 9 children usually musters.

But, I thought I should share a drink secret of mine that those of you who take a taste of the browner waters might enjoy. It is Carpano Antica Formula vermouth. And it is no regular sweet vermouth.

I know, you imagine (at least I do), Shelley Winters in Poseidon being the sort that would tip back a rocks glass of sweet vermouth. But, she would knock down to the bottom a bottle of Martini and Rossi. She would not even recognize Carpano. It is less sweet. More complex. There is a pronounced herbal quality to it that says, "Hey Bourbon, you have taken the lead role in Manhattans for far too long."

I use it, as noted above, in Manhattans. In a more summery drink, the Negroni. And, when the tummy is tumbling, I press Carpano into service as a digestif. When do I most often enjoy Carpano? When one of the Porsches challenges me to repair its engineering. 

It is worth finding.

"Work is the curse of the drinking class."

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Properly Bushed

Shiny new old parts. Nothing better. Like giving the dog a bath. A bit of a pain, but once done you're sure happy you don't have a salty smelling dust bomb traipsing through your home.

I especially like the fruit bowl in the background. My homage to every home magazine that puts an overflowing fruit bowl in every shot. The controls arms went back in the car simply. 

The steering rack with new bushings was a bit of a chore. More so because I forgot to align the bolt indent on the steering rack shaft with the bolt hole on the intermediate shaft. Don't make my same mistake. Line it up.

While I was ordering up parts I also sprung for the $3 shifter ball bushing. This made the shifter quite a bit more positive in action.

Next on the list is an alignment. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Excluding the sway bar bushings, every joint and bushing on my 83 944 was original. That means it is 26 years old and had covered 140,000 or so miles. 

As you can see from the picture of the one rear of control arm bushing they needed to be replaced. Removing the manual rack was easy. Four bolts holding in the two brackets and one that pinches the intermediate shaft to the rack. Pop the tie rods with a fork. It was off in five minutes.

I was able to just undo the sway bar ends from the control and pivot it up to the front and out of the way. Saving me about 15 minutes of removal.

The control arm bolts all came off very easily. And I had the control arm out to work on. The first thing I noticed was that the ball joints were riveted in. Meaning they were original. I had to drill out the rivets to prepare the arms for the new ball joints that I will bolt on.

Now, the hard part of the job and the one that has you questioning yourself why you didn't spend the $50 for two new control arms. I decided I am wasteful enough and need to get better about not going the easy way all the time. I eat more of my leftovers. I repair rather than replace.

The rear control arm bushing was tough. I hacksawed off a flat side revealing the metal center. I then dremeled a channel in the metal tube, careful not to cut into the arm, and then pried off the bushing. The front was a bit easier. I drilled in four parts between the control arm and the metal tube center. I then place a screwdriver through the metal center. Clamped the arm to the workbench. And gave it a wack. It came right out. No sweat.

Pressing in the bushings with a vice took about twenty minutes. 

Can't wait to button it all back up.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Power Window Delete.

Although most racing is done with the windows down or even out, I could not just pull the glass from the Brown Bomber as it does reside outside. So, I needed to put some sort of system in place that would keep the glass in the up position.

With Lexan or Plexi windows this is easy, you just drill a hole in the bottom of the window and attach your pull strap there. But I did not want to pay $300 or even $50 for lexan windows. So I think I came up with a nifty solution. I just added an aluminum bar that connects the tracks on the windows. I was then able to drill through this bar and attach my strap to this. 

For adjustment, I removed the catch from the strap I bought and screwed it to the door. This allows for a minor lowering of the window say, on the drive to the raceway.

I then added a safety catch at the bottom of the door.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Ground Control.

I spent part of the day helping a fellow user on Rennlist work on his 951 the other day and only had a few minutes to fettle my own 944. So, not much time for diving into something deep. As such, I spent 10 minutes cleaning the two major grounding points on the 944. The top image shows the rear grounding point. The bottom image, the grounding point in the engine compartment on the driver's side frame rail. Now they are all shiny and my gas gauge does not flicker around like it used to. 

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Firewall Gooooo! and pack those bearings...

A cracked firewall? Whoever heard of such a thing on anything newer than a De Dion Bouton? Uh, Porsche 944 and 968 owners. That's who.

It seems if you have a perfectly bled clutch and the feel still a bit on the pudding side, you probably have a cracked firewall. It is made of metal thinner than parchment paper and it gives way. 

One can of course, take everything out, weld in a good firewall section from a donor and bolt it all back up. But in many cases that is overkill. It is a hydraulic clutch and it does not have that much torque on it in use. So, I thought I would try a patch I found online to see if it worked. If it didn't, I would waste $5 and a couple of house.

The only reason the job is hard is there is some garbage in the way. Emissions stuff. And in my case, the wires from the firewall were wedged in the way of the bolt. The arrow is pointing to these wires. So, I had to loosen the brake booster from the inside, and was then able to get the wires out.

In image two, you can now see the 13mm bolt that bracket will attach to.

In the third image, you can see the templates I made to figure out the shape and size of the metal. I made a few from cardboard so I would not have to keep making them as they tore.

In the fourth image you can see the 1/8th in steel that I bent into place. I bolted it to the clutch master, and then, once it was tight, drilled the hole through the forward end of the bracket and the chassis.

In the fifth image, you can see it in place.

Tested, it worked a charm. There is no visible flexing or bulging of the firewall. And it lets me put my money into other places for now. Even if this bracket wears out, I made up another while I was at it to have a spare at hand. And the clutch pedal feels so smooth and solid now. 

In the sixth, you can see that I also repacked my front wheel bearings. As this was a last minute project I was glad that my local parts store had the requisite seals to do the job.