Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Making Boring Racing Pictures Look Dramatic

I was a bit disappointed I didn't grab some shots from my first race that were just great. Awesome. Ansel Adams powerful.

Oh well.

That is what Photoshop is for.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Race Day #1.

My first race is done. Body and car intact. A surprise after three hours of racing.

Nothing like jumping in with both feet and doing a three-hour enduro for one's first race.

It was a blast. Especially the start as they gridded by sign up date. So I was gridded sixth. With Corvettes, GT3 Porsches and several 400HP American Iron series cars behind me. They quickly got in front of me.

The engine and brakes were great. I believe I am down a little on power as the other 944s could walk from me on the straight but with 140,000 miles on the engine without a rebuild, that is to be expected. And the fact that a 140,000 miles engine can take 3 hours of racing, that is to be expected only from a Porsche.

The handling was OK. We had a bit of a push. The Hankook RS-2s, were good for about four laps then got a bit oily. Everyone else is running RA-1s. 

All in all a great event. The pitstops were fun too. Can't wait for my next race.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Grand Wagonner. A Woodie Tow Rig

I need a tow rig. But most of the vehicles up to the task in my sub -$3k budget were just so aesthetically unpleasing. So brutish. So mediocre. So blah. I could not bear to pick up a late 90s Explorer or mid-eighties F150. 

Many other options were small and ugly. Rodeo? Ranger? Blazer?

After looking around online I settled in on full size Bronco or a Grand Wagoneer. After looking at my first Grand Wagoneer I knew I had to have one. The plush interior. The solid Dana 44 axles. The big, hard-to-control-the-emissions 360. The wood paneling. OK, vinyl paneling. But it does look stylish. Growing up in Connecticut I would see these at the yacht clubs (where I worked) and on The Vineyard (where I day tripped).

Mine is an 87. 117,000 miles. All original. Lots of records. No rust. All it needs is an alignment and some floor mats. That's it. I spent 12 hours, it is a BIG car, cleaning the inside and outside. 

Leather cleaner and Lexol on the leather. Carpet cleaner on all the carpet. Outside, it got a wash, a polish with my buffer and then a final application of Klasse. I'm going for protection, not ultimate shine. 

Once it was all clean I hooked it up with my Harbor Freight tow bar and gave it a go. I couldn't even tell I was towing something. Fantastic.

First race is the 27th. A three hour enduro. Now I have something to tow a potentially damaged car home with. Knock on wood and all that though.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Mocal Oil Cooler Install

With my first race fast approaching I am trying to get the Writer Racing SPEC 944 up to date.

And, good or bad, the first race is a three-hour enduro. Although temperatures in Colorado at the September should be in the mid seventies, if it is sunny, the track temperatures will be much higher. As a not so smart co-worker once said, "We are only a mile from the sun you know."

I ordered the non-thermostat kit and ten row cooler from BATinc. The kit includes a sandwich plate that goes between the oil filter and housing, lines, fittings and the cooler. 

Installation is easy but tedious. I have no idea how you would squeeze one in a car with A/C, power steering and other options. It would be tight. But without these items in place finding a spot behind the empty foglight area was easy.

I had to make some brackets out of some steel stock I had lying around. You can see the L brackets I made in the picture. It is very sturdy. And the bottom is the same height as the bottom of the radiator to keep it as safe as possible. Still to do, install some mesh in front of the cooler. 

Toughest part of the job was installing the press on lines onto the fittings. What a bear. Must be what a snake feels like when it takes on trying to eat a goat.

Second toughest part was getting a wrench on the second fitting on the sandwich plate. Just awkward and tedious. 

The order I went in was.

Fit cooler with custom brackets.
Fit sandwich plate on housing, blue loctite retaining nut
Fit lines. 90 degree bend fittings on cooler. Straight fittings on sandwich plate.