Countdown: The Last Checkered Flag

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

10.07 Update

Eleven days until the race, but I am feeling much better about our progress. Everyone has worked really hard and the 90 is finally starting to look like a death trap race car. I was going to post a photo flood of our finished work, but when I went to snap the first photo last night, the camera started prattling something about the batteries and then shut off. Okay, I'll take pictures on Wednesday. Until then, I'm afraid that you will just have to read words. Yes I know, I feel the same way.

Several weeks ago, we decided that working just on Wednesday nights wasn't going to be enough. So, everyone started working whenever they could, with some of us working on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and others working on weekends. Here is Eric's latest update (recently declassified) from a few days ago, to show the kind of stuff we have been working on:

This was a pretty good weekend for front-end progress. Ryan helped me on Friday night, Andrew helped on Saturday, and I spent Sunday night all by my lonesome self out there. Things we got done:

Radiator flushed, installed & hoses clamped
Radiator fan wired up CLASSIFIED and connected to the low-speed switch (had a mistake on Saturday night with it on the
high-speed switch, and we boiled over the cooling system; still
need to test that)
Alternator installed, with hokey belt found on Jimmy's workbench,and verified working
Secondary support fabricated for driver's-side hood latch frame
Adjusted hood, now it works but is sticky when unlatching so you
have to pull up a bit on it when releasing the locks
Front motor mount fabrication complete
Front lower grill manufactured, will install with zip-ties later
Started and ran engine for 10 minutes before boiling coolant for
aformentioned radiator fan issue, worked a bit on the
vacuum lines

Pull radiator and weld a corner wedge brace to the driver's side frame rail, re-install radiator
Get and install the correct alternator belt
Finish wiring for radiator fan (have to properly route and support the new wires)
Build manual radiator fan override
Install battery cut-off switch
Fabricate bracket for midde hood support to lower front frame
Cut upper grill pieces (new front frame to upper hood support)
Modify passenger side front bumper/mount (one of the holes is
Finish sorting out vacuum lines
Order front brake pads from Tirerack; install and flush brakes with Valvoline synthetic fluid
Install oil cooler
Add additional front frame and wheel-well bracing

Our most exciting news is that we finished our very first roll cage! That was a major boost to team morale. The cage is a little sloppy in some areas, but overall, I think it's pretty good for our first effort. We learned a lot of lessons that we will apply when we eventually build a cage for my car. Still, the cage is strong...[Russian] strong like bear. [/Russian]

Ken went for a very brief test drive on Friday and did some full-throttle pulls to 80 mph. He said that once the car is warm, it runs fine. Unfortunately, he said that the car handles poorly, which isn't surprising considering that the frame still looks like an accordion and he was only barely able to bring it within alignment spec. I noticed last night that our upper strut mounts are blown to smithereens, as well. Finally, Ken said that we might have problems with locking the brakes. Without a functioning ABS system and no time/money to install a brake bias valve, it will be really easy to lock the brakes. We will have to be careful.

Our plan now is to have the car race ready by this Wednesday, so that Ryan and Eric can take it to a one-day track event at MSR this weekend for a test and tune. Then we will have one week to address any issues that they find. Luckily, Bill (our "closer") will be here early next week to help with the final sorting. If anybody can bring it in under the wire, he can.

Oh look, I found a photo! This is Andrew practicing his reaction to another car getting under him in a corner.

"Aaaaaahhh! Where did he come from?"


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