Sunday, March 22, 2009

LeMons car preparation update!

Me replacing the radiator hose. Rob Changing the AFM

With the LeMons South Spring race fast approaching in two weeks, we were back at it. I've been putting in a lot of time during the past few weeks and weekends when I haven't been racing getting our whip buttoned up and ready to go.

A few weeks ago I fired the car up, warmed it up and bled the cooling system to get all of the air out to hopefully avoid overheating our car during the race. All went well then I shut the car down, worked on my real race car for a while and went back to the LeMons car to pull it back into the garage. No start. Just fires and immediately dies. Great, what now?

I assumed it was a simple electrical gremlin in our now 22 year old Frankenstein race car that we cobbled together. This should be easy to diagnose with my years of highly refined electrical knowledge. This was about two weeks ago and the next weekend was our Road Atlanta race (see post below) so I was running out of time and patience with this car.

I called around, got some ideas on the thousands of issues it could be an decided to put it on hold until I could get Rob down here to help me troubleshoot. Which was this weekend. Thanks again goes to Jim Levie who offered lots of help and ultimately led to the solution. Long store short: we have a bad AFM. I'm not sure where JP got this AFM and if it ever ran a car he owned or not but it was confirmed bad when I tried it in my Spec E30 race car. Another donor part from #380 and we are back in business. Side note: Jim also has a writeup on how to repair the bad AFM so hopefully we can fix this one.

Once we got it fired up I took it for a spin thru the neighborhood. Car feels great and will get sideways fairly easily. Should be a handful at speed with this ancient suspension. Oh, and we really need a new caliper out back, the brakes are just plain scary.

After a successful test drive I bring her back in the driveway, call Jim to thank him and let him know its running great. As I'm talking to him on the phone I see lots of steam and fluid on the driveway. This is not good. I pop the hood and quickly look at the front corner of the engine where the head meets the block. There is steam pouring out and I quickly deduce that we just lost a head gasket and cooked the motor. Jim laughs at me and says look at the hoses. Hoses? You mean the original 22 year old hoses we reused? Those are fine. Except they aren't are they? there was no a big crack in one where the hose clamp is and it is conveniently spraying on th engine right where the head meets the block. I told you I was no pro tech. We let it cool off and replace the hose, all is well again...until the next issue arises that is.

Weekend Summary:
This weekend we:
1. got it running...again. Installed the kill switch, finished the harness mounting and Rob helped me move all of my garage crap to the new house. Thanks again Bobert.
2. Churched up the inside of the car a bit with some rattle can primer to cover the surface rusted metal.
3. Went to Mac's on Main again, great little place with live music and a sketchy waitress. I'm pretty sure she eats everyone's leftovers.
4. Went to the club to check out our New Amsterdam promotions. Blame it on the New Am...not feeling great today.

The paint job is done!

Paint is still wet. Wet sanding the first two coats of gray.

The car sanded before painting. Safety first!

A lot of the time I've put into the car has been getting it looking nice. I've always wanted to paint a car with rollers and see how nice I can get the paint. Since this isn't a real car its the perfect candidate. This way, if I screw it up who cares right?

I used Rustoleum and went with the three color scheme reminiscent of a once popular 80's TV show featuring a sweet van. It goes along with our LeMons team theme which will be revealed in the race recap blog. If you can figure it out for yourself by these pics and my clever clues, consider yourself average at best and go ahead and eat that extra cookie. You've earned it.

Bobert wiring up the kill switch. Two E30's ready to race?

The proper method of painting with a roller is to thin the paint to almost water like consistency so it levels and apply several coats, wet sanding in between. I had intentions of doing this for the whole car but decided against it once time began to run thin. No pun intended. I did thin the gray and added a few cots but most of it is thinned slightly and applied heavily. I did wet sand, compound, polish and wax afterward so the paint looks great for a LeMons car. As with any paint job 90% of it is in the prep work. Getting a smooth surface to start with. I sanded the car and that's about it. Again, LeMons not concourse.

This car will be smashed to pieces in the race anyway so it doesn't matter. Enjoy the pics!

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