Monday, March 28, 2011

Alignment & Corner Balance @ Winning Formula

With < 9 hrs of sleep in 2 days and about 830 miles logged - I'm freakin exhausted!

Part 1 of 2.  Alignment trip & Test Day.

Part 1 takes us down to Louisville, KY and to The Winning Formula.  The shop consists basically of 2 people; Aaron who I know from the track and have been dealing directly with - and the owner, Mike. It's pretty much just them 2. They primarily setup SM's (Spec Miata's) along with various other street/track car alignments and maintenance I believe.  I made it to the shop about 8:40am my time (9:40am ET local) on Friday.  I unloaded the car as we started mounting tires and noticed some spitting snow which wasn't a good outlook for our testday on Saturday.
First check on the scales showed 3266 lbs with driver!  That was a great start as it's damn close to my post-race required weight.  After verifying the suspension installation, next up was the actual alignment.  We found the rear of the car no longer had the eccentric bolts for toe adjustment! Fortunately for me, I had stripped a front suspension bolt with my install earlier in the week and I dug through my spare box of crap downstairs and while I didn't have a spare front bolt I did find some interesting other bolts (including the rear toe eccentric adjusters) that I threw in for the trip just in case. Lucky us. So we switched those back in. 

All-in-all it took a lot longer than we had planned. We had to redo a few things that had been done incorrectly by other shops over the years. We also had to deal with some rubbing caused by the longer springs from the new setup. We have a plan 'B' coming down the road for that one.  But Aaron stuck with it and took his time. He talked me through everything and answered all my questions and we joked through it all.

A few other people stopped by the shop in the mid-afternoon that were headed to the testday too. We didn't leave the shop until about 9pm that night. We had to help some other guys pack up, install some Miata hard tops, pack extra tires, grab dinner, etc. 4 of us caravaned the ~2.5hr drive to Indianopolis to our 2 different hotels for the next days event.

2am...bedtime. 6:15am alarm for Saturday testday...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Seats & Harnesses bolted back in!

Final prepwork for the upcoming testday being wrapped up.  Testing Sat 3/26 at Putnam Park.  With that in mind, we put the seats & harnesses back in.

Driver seating position has always been a small struggle with me.  I definitely like to sit low; lower than stock! I've went through 3 different seats and 6 different mounting options. With fixed back racing seats, you don't have as many angle/reclining options which makes it more difficult. Plus if your butt & legs aren't help down in place via belts or seat bolsters or whatever, you're going to be sliding around; no doubt.
I finally got it lower than I liked, where I couldn't fully see over the dash! Nice! Sure that was w/o using a seating pad, but sh1t happens. Anyways, I redid the angle a bit and think I have something I like better.
Because I needed the weight, I bolted back in a passenger seat along with the harnesses. Plus it's always nice to have the option to carry a passenger which it be a student (I occasionally instruct) or another track buddy or someone helping me learn a new track.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Brake Bleeding.

More maintenance this weekend.  Getting down to the last of it though.  I pulled all the brake pads and checked them, the brake lines and the rotors - all for premature wear.  Looking good although my front Girodisc rotors are already showing some minor spider-cracking after just 3 trackdays of use.  We'll see how long they last!
I greased up the pads and put them back in.  I then flushed the entire system with new AMSOIL DOT4 brake fluid.  A quick test drive revealed a solid pedal; verifying things are ok. 

This is about the last of the 'off-season' maintenance!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

ARP Splitter & Wing!

New for 2011 will be some aero bits from ARP.  A front splitter and a rear wing.

Like a lot of people, I am a bit concerned with the potential downforce on the front splitter.  Being made of carbon fiber, this thing is super light and super thin.  I would like to reinforce it and attach it to the frame somehow down the road.
I'm a complete newb when it comes to aero as I've never had anything beyond stock so this is quite an undertaking for me.  I'm not even sure how things will work out or if I'll keep or ditch the setup after a few events.  But I'm going to give it a try and see how the laptimes shake out at my first 3 events.

I do pledge to get some better pics once I get the car shined up.  But here are some test-fitting pics to get by in the meantime.

Monday, March 14, 2011

FMIC swap!

FMIC swap time!  It's never ever fun to make your race car slower; but that's exactly what we did this week.  Because of NASA's TT point system, you have to pick and choose your modifications wisely.  And although my AMS FMIC is a work of art and adds a solid 20 whp/wtq, I believe the 4pts for an intercooler upgrade are better spent elsewhere (more info coming).
Therefore I pulled the upgraded AMS FMIC off and bolted the stock unit back in place.  Here's a pic of the update.  Man does it look tiny in comparison!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Driveline Fluids!

Ah, the fun of crawling under the car when the cement garage floor is still really cold!  I changed out most of the fluids in the Evo last week.  I got the Engine Oil, Transmission fluid and T-Case fluid.

Left yet is the Rear Diff and later flushing out the Radiator.