Topic: The Tinyvette's Glitter Bomb.
(Also post on FB and Opel GT forum)
So much stuff was about the break. I'm glad that even under pressure we all took our time. The bases of the lifters were cracked. How the hell does that happen? The alternator bracket, the beefy one Alan reinforced, bent, cracked, and was about to fail completely.
With help from the whole team we took care of all this and on Friday got the engine in the car. It fired right up, cam run-in (new lifters) went well, follow-up valve adjustment, too. All going really great. Packing and final details took a while and we got to the track at 1 AM today (Saturday). Kurt drove the car the hour or so to the track while I followed with a trailer and tools. It was a perfect opportunity to see what we had before we started the race, plus Kurt has rarely had a chance to drive the Tinyvette.
By 7 AM were up up and at it again. Zep took the car through late-comer's tech himself and returned so we could take care of the few things left on our to-do list, such as wash the windshield. Really minor stuff. We had arrived ready to race.
Eric noticed a few drips of oil on the pavement so when Zep got back we investigated. For this race we had installed a new oil cooler and lines, and one fitting was loose. Dealing with that meant minor disassembly and reassembly so the hoses pointed in the right direction. The minor amount of oil spilled in the process went into a clean pan. When Kurt was done and I pulled the pan out from under the car I saw our fate. Glitter, just like in the previous engine. Damn.
Decision time. Do we race? Yes, we at least start the race. Zep has a good head for the condition of the car and what needs to be done so he'd take the first stint. While dressing we changed the oil and filter. While circulating, prior to the green, he noted the brakes were bad, pulled hard to one side, and was worse than the previous race. Convinced he had no brakes on the right front he brought it in. Our best guess was a crimped flexible hose, so I replaced it. Zep rejoined the race, already in progress, and the brakes were no different, and soon oil temps were over 240, then 250, with water temps around 210, higher than normal for us.
In the pits, Eric, Kurt and I discussed the situation, and now the question was, what were our goals for the weekend? We certainly would not be racing in any meaningful way. Zep said temps were manageable if he didn't rev past 5000 rpm. We told him to have fun, stay safe, and when he came in we'd put the car on the trailer. A couple of hours later we were packed and heading for home, having sold our unused 30 gallons of fuel to friends at Restart Racing.
This really, really, sucks. This is our third DNF in a row and for one reason or another for the past year+ we have been averaging almost an engine per race. The two recent DNFs were for broken stuff, a diff and a rod bolt. But the fate of the engine on the diff-weekend was the same as today. Postmortem indicated debris damage of the bearings and our best guess for the source was debris in the oil cooler. This time, with a new oil cooler and hoses, and me being really anal about cleanliness, we had the same result. (Assessment based on symptoms. Postmortem scheduled for tomorrow.)
So all that work and the weekends of four friends, down the tubes. Yes, I guess it is true what they say, that racing is the most heart-breaking sport around.
The other thing, what do I do now? That was my best effort and everything looked like it would be golden. Do I refresh this and build a third glitter bomb and get a fourth DNF in a row, 750 miles from home? I'm thinking of taking all my parts to the shop of a guy who has done our machining work and sit and watch him inspect the parts and put the engine together. I am obviously doing something wrong.
This really, really, sucks.