Back to the week before the race. I took most of the last few weeks off to work ion the house, relax and think about what I was going to do with the program for the rest of the season. The start of the season, well the last two seasons have been harsh. The season seemed to start off strong but a series of somewhat costly mistakes on the equipment took a toll on not only the budget but my patience. My initial thought was to retreat back to the shop and do all the work on the car I think I need then to come back out at the start of the second half of the season. I ran that by Amber and she thought that since I budgeted to race and test a certain amount of days, that’s what I should do even with the wedding and all rapidly approaching. She’s the best.
The best thing about being a MyLaps member is that you can compare your lap times with those in the race. It’s not as cool as telemetry, which I’ve become addicted to over the last decade but it’s better than a score sheet or stopwatch alone. I’ve got the potential in the car right now to run mid pack if I can keep it consistent and work on my starts and restarts. They’re awful. I’m losing a couple of seconds on them. That’s the big place for improvement. With the next four cars up or so I can run as fast, sometimes faster but the starts are killing me. I’m still a couple of seconds from the pointy end of the grid. Armed with that data I decided that rather than equipment that seat time was more important. In 14 month I don’t think I’ve done 100 laps. Pathetic. It’s not the time to build cars, it’s time to drive them even if they aren’t quite what I’d like.
First up replacing the exhaust that was torn off last time we loaded for the track. A trip to pickup some tubing and fittings and we were off.
The cat was still on the car though it had been gutted. I had to cut the cat from the down tube and weld a new adapter. I then got the lengths I needed, It’s a bitch to find anything over a few feet long.
With all that in place in a half hour or so I was good to go. The aluminized tubing needs to have the aluminum ground off on the outside and honed off on the inside for the best welds. then on the car, a bit of a bracket fab and we’re good to go.
The hot start issue is one that has been plaguing me since last year. It’s well known in the GMs with crossover exhausts. I remote mounted the solenoid and that help and got a high power jump box and that helped but I was still having some problems. I added a ground wire, AWG #2 to the lug nearest the starter and we’ll see if that helps. I was going to re route the exhaust on that side but that will require some floor pan mods that I don’t want to do right now.
The brakes have been the biggest bitch so far. The rears need constant attention and will require a rebuilt in the near future. I’ve replaced a few more leaky fittings and need to come up with a fix for a leaky proportioning valve over the weekend. I’m likely to replace the fittings and line as that GM OEM proportioning valve is no longer available. The fronts are air tight but the stock pads are less than desirable. I had Hawk Blacks in then we had an issue with a caliper that wasn’t caught in time. The caliper some how spit out a pad. With the near grand in mistakes and over runs so far another set of Hawks isn’t quite doable yet and keep in budget. The stock pads just get punished and can’t take the heat. Castrol LMA which is usually a good alternative to racing brake fluid (and a bit difficult to source here in the valley) is still boiling.
A shake down around Bristol Park this afternoon proved fruitful if nothing else to know the issues with the trans seemed to be solved. It appears a vacuum leak was causing late, hard up shifts. In a TH350 the kickdown doesn’t control the modulator like on the 200 or 700. In fact I could run without if need be.
There are still several projects/improvements I want to make but right now it’s time for butt in the seat.