Re: K-It-Forward (v.ECR)
We rolled into the track about 8:00 again and started sorting the clunk. While i jacked the nose up, Doug got Kim (of Lemons offical scoring fame) belted into the car. The fixed seat and difficult to adjust belts required several pillows and pads to get her safe and comfortable. I started hosing down the underside with brake cleaner looking for the loose/broken part. I finally found my way to the passenger lower ball joint. On the K, the lower joints are pressed into the lower control arm from the underside. The knuckle then clamps over the stud from from the top side, no taper fits, no castle nuts. During racing the day before, the ball joint had pushed its way back out of the LCA. we got it set back in its hole, and I tried hammering the arm down on it to fix it in place. To test it, I stood on the hub and felt it pop right back out. I then pushed it back home, broke out my welder, and welded the joint's case to the control arm. Not hot enough to melt all the packing grease, but enough to keep it in place. I reassembled the corner, and put the car on the ground just as Kim got all her ducks in a row for diving.
We gassed her up, I gave her a bit of a pep talk / run down of known problems, and we sent her out about 9:30 or so. An hour later, we put Bob from Escape Velocity Racing into the car (he's getting it for Houston in September). He got out an hour later complaining of a wicked backfire when he jumped off the throttle. That was a new story for us, so we chalked it up to his driving style (with the annoying transmission) and/or an exhaust leak and too rich condition. Chris Champion took another turn at the wheel (he might be a glutton for punishment) and an hour later he came back. We popped the hood to check the fluids, and noticed the motor was moving more than a lot in the compartment as the car rocked back and forth in park. Starting the motor confirmed the motor's desire to escape, so we drove the car onto some ramps to get to the root of the problem.
Evidently, at some point in this car's past, not all the bolts had made it back into the engine/transmission interface. They hadn't be there when I separated them friday night, and they hadn't appeared during the rebuild, so they didn't go back in the car. one of those bolts also attaches the front mount to the assembly. While
beating on racing the car, we'd successfully backed one of the remaining mount bolts out and torn the mount nicely. The motor and tranny were trying to come apart at the bottom, as well. Lacking the correct bolts, and knowing that there were almost no other non-metrics in the paddock, I got a couple too small bolts from EVR and thru bolted them thru the motor and tranny holes. This pulled the motor and transmission back together and stabilized the front mount. We started the car back up, and it made a serious racket from the bottom end. I assumed it was the rods waiting to let go, but when I put it in gear to back it down the ramps, it got quiet.
This lead Champion to guess the TC bolts were loose, so I drove it back up the ramps. Sure enough, all four were loose, two loose enough to be hitting the block as they went around. I tightened them back down as best I could and with a little over an hour and a half left in the race, I rejoined the party under a full course yellow.
I drove around for several laps, the car getting weaker and weaker under me. Sputtering out of every corner, tranny fighting every shift. We went back to green flag racing, and my lap times didn't really improve noticeably. Knowing that i really wanted to take the checkers, i left the track about 1:45. I drove around the pits and paddock, drove up the hill to see how SA was doing, ventured out to the spectator's area to sit with my teammates for a while. At 2:15 I reentered the track and drove the last five laps to see the checkered flag. I was the last car off the track, mostly because i had to wave people by as we exited the corners.
I parked the car in the gravel, because i was tired of picking up oil off concrete. I went back to our paddock and started cleaning/packing. I joined the k-car contingent at the awards ceremony and picked up a special regional Lost Cause trophy for my efforts. We took some team photos with the car, I discussed with brandon what all he wanted of the pile, and we left the K in the gravel of the paddock, awaiting brandon's three week chapter before his run at High Plains.
I am happy I did it. I can't thank everyone who lended me a hand enough. after watching the struggles all around me this weekend (TARP, OK-SPEED, and EVR chief among them) I have a greater appreciation for the heroic fixes and i got screweds that teams truly earn. I don't know if i can make the houston race yet....but (as noted above) I intend to have a C-Class car ready for the next ECR race.
thanks again to everyone who made all this possible.
Regularly losing in Class A
Soon to start losing in Class C