Topic: How much experience do I need to build a lemon?

As the title says I am curious about how much experience it takes to build a lemon. I have no experience when it comes to working on cars, but I am a bike mechanic so I am pretty good with mechanical things. After looking around a bit it doesn't seem too difficult if I don't make it difficult. I was "planning" on just buying a cheap car and just stripping and selling the interior and then leaving it at that. This doesn't seem like it would be that difficult, but most things that seem easy tend to turn out to be pretty difficult. I was wondering if anyone that has done this before has any advice/thoughts on the process.

I currently do not have a team it's just me, so if anyone in the bay area wants to help a dumb high school student build a car, let me know I really need it.
I'm want to try to race in Sonoma in December so I have a lot of time to figure stuff out.

Re: How much experience do I need to build a lemon?

If you work the search a bit you'll see this question gets asked and answered pretty regularly.
I think you'll see that the consensus is that the car is easy, the cage harder, the team-building harder, and getting the money together hardest.

And you _do_ know there's a race at Sears in a week?

Get ya'llself up there and see what's up, and if you feel bold enough bring some offerings for the potluck that's in a nearby thread.

Re: How much experience do I need to build a lemon?

Is it difficult to build a car?  There are challenges to get one to pass tech even if you farm out most of the safety stuff unless you use a cage builder that has already built many Lemons cages in the last 2-3 years.  Read the "How Not to Fail Tech" picture book.  Everything they emphasize has been done wrong by owners and pros.  Much easier ans cheaper is buy a used, recently tech'ed car and just fix what is broken.

How hard is it to keep it running all weekend...it is all over the place but assum at least half you time on new car and new time will not be on track and then if you are wron, bonus!

How hard is it to form a team, get them to help build, have them all pay their share and show up at the race?  About 100x harder than both of the above items.

Do keep in mind you also have to do all of the following:

Get the car to and from the track
Fuel your car
Feed yourself and your crew
Bring rools and spares to the track
So many things covered in other threads almost infinite variations.

Re: How much experience do I need to build a lemon?

Come to the Sonoma race this weekend and meet other teams. Most everyone is very friendly and will answer your questions and show you their cars. Friday is good to see the tech process. Saturday evening is good to see what can go wrong.

Team whatever_racecar #745 Volvo wagon

Re: How much experience do I need to build a lemon?

https://forums.24hoursoflemons.com/view … JZTYfrIZuY

40+x Loser.....You'd think I would learn......
5x I.O.E  Winner   1 Heroic Fix Winner   1 Org Choice Winner
2x  I Got Screwed Winner    2x Class C Winner
(Still a Class B driver in a Class A car)

Re: How much experience do I need to build a lemon?

rb92673 wrote:

Come to the Sonoma race this weekend and meet other teams. Most everyone is very friendly and will answer your questions and show you their cars. Friday is good to see the tech process. Saturday evening is good to see what can go wrong.

Saturday Morning*  LOL

@Lama0608 You can come shadow the CYBERFUKD team at Sonoma if you like.  You'll learn a lot.  Let me know if you're interested. 

As far as building a car, I recommend buying a reliable widely produced vehicle.  Preferably one that is already a race car.  It's almost certainly cheaper to buy one than build one.  If you're handy, you can accomplish most tasks with a good mechanics tool set and repair manual.  I highly, highly recommend you include a couple of solid mechanics as teammates.  Expect to spend a couple grand on top of the cost of the car to get to your first race.

Re: How much experience do I need to build a lemon?

I find herding my team of ferile cats harder than building the car. But my skills of building a car are much better than that of building a team.

I highly highly highly recommend buying a retired car over building one if you don't have any experience building race cars. You've gotta be very careful with either paying the right guy to build your cage or you've really gotta know what you're doing if you're going DIY. Safety is scrutinized at Lemons just as hard (if not harder) than most race series in recent years.

Full Ass Racing
#455 Piñata Miata
#735 BMDollhÜr 7Turdy5i

Re: How much experience do I need to build a lemon?

Everything said about actually visiting a race, shadowing a team, etc. is ABSOLUTELY the best place to start.

I will share my personal story (abridged as best I can) because I came from a similar place as you when I started.

I too was a bike mechanic (way before all this though), however cars never really had any draw for me beyond looking sweet and going fast. Never was the stereotypical mechanic-y "car guy". BUT Lemons sounded like a helluva good time, so a couple friends and I dove in head-first.

We bought a stripped out 2nd gen CRX from another team that decided they didn't wanna build it. The thing was a massive basket case. Engine swap, fubar'd wiring, the absolute worst suspension drop you could imagine... you name it the car had the problem.

But, we rolled up our sleeves, did the research, employed whatever means we had to to get the cage built and the car ready for a race.

By the time of the race all the original team mates except me had bailed financially, and some entirely. In the end I gathered a new random collection of friends willing to cough up a few hundred bucks each race to help cover the entry fee.

No one had any car experience or racing experience. A few - like me - had some HPDE track experience.

Our first race was a disaster. The car spun at the hint of throttle lift-off, or taking a corner vaguely over-speed, or touching the brake in wrong place... we got 3 black flags in the first half-day.

Overall everyone took it pretty well and did what we had to for our penalties, which was fun. The judges suggested we get rid of the awful suspension by finding a car at a local yard to yank the stock stuff from. That helped a ton. Other people offered help and in the end we finished and had a good time after getting very dirty and doing a lot of head scratching for what today, with my current level of experience, would be a 30 min suspension swap.

Moving forward I've tried to do my best to prep both the people and the car for the events, but there's so many variables we just end up doing our best to roll with the punches. We ultimately ditched the CRX after a handful of blown engines, took a break, and came back a few years ago racing with only my Dad and I in a 2006 Mini Cooper with very little different from stock.

As I found I enjoyed the wrenching and the racing I've slowly built it into a major part of my life and I wouldn't trade the frustration and, shall we say, character building, for anything.

Youtube is a WEALTH of knowledge for COMMON car platforms with standard equipment. Common parts swaps also have a good amount of info out there. If you're good at learning and researching problems then you'll figure it out.

But again, GO OUT TO A RACE FIRST. People are very generous with their time and experience out there. Hang out, ask questions, listen and see if you're still interested. Volunteer for a team that's willing to have you as a novice mechanic. Buy a seat as an arrive and drive. THEN consider if you've got the resources to build a car - including people to support you, whether that's teammates or just others willing to lend a hand when you need it.

This really is a team sport - you need other people to help you in any kind of racing, but particularly endurance crap-can racing. And that's frankly what I love about it.

Re: How much experience do I need to build a lemon?

Bricoop wrote:
rb92673 wrote:

Come to the Sonoma race this weekend and meet other teams. Most everyone is very friendly and will answer your questions and show you their cars. Friday is good to see the tech process. Saturday evening is good to see what can go wrong.

Saturday Morning*  LOL

@Lama0608 You can come shadow the CYBERFUKD team at Sonoma if you like.  You'll learn a lot.  Let me know if you're interested. 

As far as building a car, I recommend buying a reliable widely produced vehicle.  Preferably one that is already a race car.  It's almost certainly cheaper to buy one than build one.  If you're handy, you can accomplish most tasks with a good mechanics tool set and repair manual.  I highly, highly recommend you include a couple of solid mechanics as teammates.  Expect to spend a couple grand on top of the cost of the car to get to your first race.

Yea definitely, shadowing a team sounds great. I was planning on going up this weekend anyway. I can't go up on Saturday but I was planning on spending most of the day on Sunday. Let me know where you guys will be at.

Also, a few people have mentioned buying a retired Lemons car instead of building one. Are they sold at races or is there another forum about buying/selling them? That definitely seems like a better option for my first time.

Re: How much experience do I need to build a lemon?

Lama0608 wrote:

That definitely seems like a better option for my first time.

The easiest option is an arrive and drive where you just pay a team to drive.  If you are in high school though, it might be hard to find someone to let you join the team.  If you are under 18, there is a waiver your parents need to sign for Lemons to let you race.

As far as where everyone is at, most of us won't know until we get there and find a spot to set up.  First come, first served parking unless you rented a garage space.

Team whatever_racecar #745 Volvo wagon

11 (edited by Bricoop 2022-03-08 05:01 PM)

Re: How much experience do I need to build a lemon?

Lama0608 wrote:
Bricoop wrote:
rb92673 wrote:

Come to the Sonoma race this weekend and meet other teams. Most everyone is very friendly and will answer your questions and show you their cars. Friday is good to see the tech process. Saturday evening is good to see what can go wrong.

Saturday Morning*  LOL

@Lama0608 You can come shadow the CYBERFUKD team at Sonoma if you like.  You'll learn a lot.  Let me know if you're interested. 

As far as building a car, I recommend buying a reliable widely produced vehicle.  Preferably one that is already a race car.  It's almost certainly cheaper to buy one than build one.  If you're handy, you can accomplish most tasks with a good mechanics tool set and repair manual.  I highly, highly recommend you include a couple of solid mechanics as teammates.  Expect to spend a couple grand on top of the cost of the car to get to your first race.

Yea definitely, shadowing a team sounds great. I was planning on going up this weekend anyway. I can't go up on Saturday but I was planning on spending most of the day on Sunday. Let me know where you guys will be at.

Also, a few people have mentioned buying a retired Lemons car instead of building one. Are they sold at races or is there another forum about buying/selling them? That definitely seems like a better option for my first time.

If you look at where cars enter the track (between the garages and the grandstands) do a 180.  We'll be about half way back.  Look for the CYBERFUKD Truck.  If you arrive after Green, look for a smart car.  Recommend getting there very early.

Facebook has some pages you can look at.
OKStupid: Lemons Team Builder/ Arrive & Drive Matchmaker
W@W caged road cars for sale USA & Canada
Unofficial facebook group of the 24 hours of Lemons
Citrus Racer Lounge

Re: How much experience do I need to build a lemon?

Lama0608 wrote:

Yea definitely, shadowing a team sounds great. I was planning on going up this weekend anyway. I can't go up on Saturday but I was planning on spending most of the day on Sunday. Let me know where you guys will be at.

Sorry for Party racing will be in Garage 11...Just look for the zebra print cars...

Also, a few people have mentioned buying a retired Lemons car instead of building one. Are they sold at races or is there another forum about buying/selling them? That definitely seems like a better option for my first time.
There is a forum section solely for buying&selling...https://forums.24hoursoflemons.com/viewforum.php?id=12

40+x Loser.....You'd think I would learn......
5x I.O.E  Winner   1 Heroic Fix Winner   1 Org Choice Winner
2x  I Got Screwed Winner    2x Class C Winner
(Still a Class B driver in a Class A car)

Re: How much experience do I need to build a lemon?

I'd recommend getting your hands on a previously run car and doing that. I bought one and have run 3 races with no hassle. There's one for free near Fresno listed right now in the cars for sale/rent section- The post is copypasted below.



I have a 1975 Lincoln Towne Coupe, set up as a Lemons racer. If you take the racing serious and want to win, this car is probably not for you. If you want to have a butt kicking weekend with your friends/family and enjoy the Lemons experience, the this car is up your alley. The car runs good and has current California registration.It is a veteran of 2 Lemons races as ‘The Fir Burger Express Delivery’ and ‘The Phony Express’ It is currently disguised as ‘The California High Speed Fail—The Bullet Drain’, but needs refreshing. The car is located in Clovis, California. If you promise to use it and have fun with it, I would give it to you. Tom (559)281-3120

El Capitan of Team Corky
94 Miata covered in cork as Mazda/Toyo Kogyo tribute now painted like the Queen's coffin
4 time tire raffle winner. (So I got that goin for me which is nice)

Re: How much experience do I need to build a lemon?

Lucas-It was nice to meet you on Sunday.  Good luck on getting your team together and let us know if you have any questions.

-Brian