Tag Archives: preparation

Frame repair, Lemons style

Bent frame

The cumulative result of all the contact in the Lemons race in Altamont was that the front end of our car was in pretty bad shape. As you can see from the above picture, the left front corner is a couple of inches too high as well as an inch or two inboard of its regular position. Now a real race team would either replace the frame or send the car to a bodyshop for some frame repair. Unfortunately both those options would have put us well past the $500 limit for the race. This is where Robs forklift comes into the picture 🙂

We started out by cutting the metal bar that served as our impromptu bumper after the hearse took out our original bumper during the race.… Read the rest

Race review – Saturday pre-race setup

I am finally getting down to writing my review of our Lemons experience – this first post will be about Saturday setup while following posts will be about things like on-track action, mechanical breakdowns, jury rigged repairs and other bits of lemons fun.

As I had mentioned before, we had some tire wear issues on during our Friday test session. The banked turns were enough lateral load (sustained 1.3 G) on the car that we were blistering the outer edge of our right front tire. While raising the tire pressures did help, there was no way that our tires would last an entire race with such uneven wear.… Read the rest

Test day

Yesterday we had a pretty good test day at Altamont. All of us did a few laps behind the wheel to get a feel for the car and the track. The car ran very fast and we all did 54 sec laps with Jyri doing a best of 52. We did have some tire wear issues with our right front tire due to the long banked turns – we will be doing some emergency camber adjustments to the front to fix that.

Here is a photo of me passing someone on the outside of the banking and a video of Jyri doing some quick laps under lights.… Read the rest

Seat Time

One of the most expensive parts of the Lemons car is the seat – a good fiberglass seat will run you at least $500 dollars and even an aluminium seat will cost $300. Now if you are preping a regular race car thats not a problem, the seat will usually last the lifetime of the car. In our case the car will most probably last only 1 race and it did not make too much sense to spend more than the cost of the car on just one seat. Enter Terry Griffin and Griffin Motorwerke, the west coast Recaro distributor, who offered to lend us a Pole Position seat and the associated mounting hardware.… Read the rest

Days 4 and 5 – Its all about the cage

One of the most important pieces of safety equipment for any racecar is the roll cage. Having seen one car flip in July event, we knew that this one part we we had to take very seriously. The official rules for the race only require a 4 point roll bar and a door bar, but we decided to go all the way and get a full roll cage instead. In fact, one of the reasons we went with the E30 was availability of several bolt-in roll cages for the spec E30 market. After looking around for a bit and contacting several companies, we decided that an Autopower roll cage was the way to go.… Read the rest

Car Prep Day 3 – Its alive

Day three of car prep was all about getting the engine running. At this point we had had the car with us for several months but we hadn’t yet heard the damn thing run.

We started up by tightening up the head bolts and putting in a new timing belt. After that we adjusted the valve spacing (space between camshaft and valve stem) and began reconnecting that various fuel hoses and wires. We decided not to put the cooling system in until the engine was in running condition to give ourselves some work room in case we needed to replace any additional parts.… Read the rest

Car Preparation – Day 2

Day 2 of preparation was all about fixing up the head. As you can see below the valves were in really bad shape and all of them had to be replaced. We cleaned the head and the block before putting on a new head gasket kit.

A very bent valve
Cleaning the underside of the head before putting it back on

The manifolds were bolted back onto the head and we put the head back onto the car. At this point we were feeling quite optimistic about getting the car done when we realized that we didn’t have the right tool to tighten the head bolts – seeing that it was already late we called it quits for day 2 with the head just sitting on the block.… Read the rest

Car Preparation – Day 1

Now that we had the car at Dietsch Werks, we had to figure out what was wrong with. Day 1 would be all about stripping the car under Robs guidance. We started out by jacking it up and draining the coolant.

The next step was to remove the cylinder head. This was needed because the 325 is an interference engine and the broken timing belt guarantees that we have belt some valves. We disconnected all the hoses + wiring and used a forklift to lift the head out of the engine bay.

Lifting the head

Once we pulled the head off we made a surprising discovery – all the pistons had valve marks on them.… Read the rest

Car Pickup

After a couple of weeks of frantic paper writing things have finally cooled down enough that I can go back to writing my blog. First on the list is a series of blog posts about our preparation for the 24 hours of Lemons. Sit back and enjoy the fun. 🙂

The first and most important thing we needed to run in the Lemons was a car, not just any car, but a car that we’d be able to buy AND prep for for under $500. Looking through the results of the first race we decided that an older japanese econobox would probably be the best car to run with.… Read the rest

It’s alive

On Monday we finally got our Lemons car started for the first time – still need to put the cooling system on buts its a relief to finally get it running. I promise I’ll have a series of posts about the actual prep work.

It’s Alive from rnair and Vimeo.

P.S.: The smoke is just oil smoke and the unbolted exhaust – the video got cut off because my phone died on me 🙁… Read the rest