Topic: More Checklist Chat - Building the Car

Hey guys. I got a lot of good input from you before that we're using to put together "off the shelf" checklists. A lot of them are centric, however, to veteran teams who have done this a ton. Does anybody have a checklist specifically for new builds? Or more broadly, I guess the question(s) I'm trying to answer here are this:

(1) What is the typical order of operations, so to speak, when putting together a new car? (i.e. Does the cage come first? Or do you do all the wiring first?)

(2) What are some of the common choices/decision paths that you make when assembling the car? Obviously, how you get the cage built is a big choice to make. What other things do new teams need to consider?

We're asking this because all of us idiots at HQ are a few years removed from building our first car(s).

eric@24hoursoflemons.com

Re: More Checklist Chat - Building the Car

1. Get Car
2. Find out what's actually broke not what the dingus you bought it off of says is broke
3. Gut Interior
4. Flush fluids
4a. Discover there were no fluids to flush.
4b. Question societies existence.
5. Rip out wires if you like electronics, or just pack them all out of the way.
6. Schedule Cage Install
7. Brakes, wheel berings, and Ball joints
8. Mount the seat BEFORE the cage gets installed
9. Drop car off for cage install
10. Wait for cage
11. Buy race tires and wait for cage
12. Buy all other needed gear, call Cage guy.
13. Pay Lemons fees, call Cage Guy again
14. Get car back with cage.
15. Install everything and paint it in a slap dash weekend
16. DOMINATE!!

Mistake By The Lake Racing (MBTL)
88 Thunderbird "THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO!"
A&D: 2014 Sebrings at Sebring (NSF), 2014 NJMP2 Jurassic Park (SpeedyCop), 2012 Summit Point J30 (PiNuts)

Re: More Checklist Chat - Building the Car

Guildenstern wrote:

1. Get Car
2. Find out what's actually broke not what the dingus you bought it off of says is broke
3. Gut Interior
4. Flush fluids
4a. Discover there were no fluids to flush.
4b. Question societies existence.
5. Rip out wires if you like electronics, or just pack them all out of the way.
6. Schedule Cage Install
7. Brakes, wheel bearings, and Ball joints
8. Mount the seat BEFORE the cage gets installed
9. Drop car off for cage install
10. Wait for cage
11. Buy race tires and wait for cage
12. Buy all other needed gear, call Cage guy.
13. Pay Lemons fees, call Cage Guy again
14. Get car back with cage.
15. Install everything and paint it in a slap dash weekend
16. DOMINATE!!

Pretty comprehensive list. My suggested additions.
8.5. Scrape all of the sound deadening/tar and other bits that could catch on fire during the cage install. Cut out any bits of extra metal in the car in consultation with TEO (skinning hood, skinning doors, gutting dash, etc.

I would also say 14 should come before 13.

14.5 Consider any suspension tweaks that might help handling (beyond just replacing all the dry rotted rubber bits). Ex: new dampeners, cutting springs, etc.

Somewhere on the list but before the actual race. Sell off all the parts you can from your car (or recycle them).

I would also state that if your car is not in roadworthy shape (ex: rust might be an issue with your car), you shouldn't buy any car specific parts until AFTER you have confirmed that the car can be safely caged and will pass tech. I have to imagine it would suck to have finished a HG job on the engine and bought all the spendy brake bits

---
Other than the above comments, I would highlight a few concepts to consider in terms of priority for the team (highest to lower
A) Make sure you car can pass tech (cage, safety, etc)
then
B) Invest in reliability (make sure the car can stay on track and do laps for the 14+ hours of a given race). A slow car that's on track from flag to flag is a lot more fun than a fast car that spends 90% of it's time in the paddock getting "heroicly" fixed.
then
C) Consider taking the car to a track day. Make sure your drivers know how the car feels and see if there are any shortcomings that need to be addressed (aka: scary handling and/or shitty brakes)> Unless they are dry rotten, I would use the street tires the car came with for this test.
then
D) Invest in a proper theme. A few shitty stickers != theme
then
E) Invest in spares you think you'll need for your first race: extra tires, extra brake pads/rotors (even if they aren't the $$$ ones that you plan to race with), etc.
then
F) Have fun at your first race
then
G) Invest in making your car go faster & "dominate". Also, experience the joys of learning about all the different ways you can break your car.

Personally, until A and B (from my list) are solved, I would NOT pay for a race registration.

Myopic Motorsport's #888 Ceci n'est pas une Citron Thunderbird ("This is not a lemon" but a 1995 tbird w/ 93 V8 swap + shopping cart rear wing + engine mounted frito maker)
2017 Sears Pointless Organizer’s Choice
Frito Making Tbird from 2018 Sears Pointless Engine Heat BBQ - http://goo.gl/csaet4

Re: More Checklist Chat - Building the Car

We are close with the exception of the basketcase 1947 Plymouth where we did everything ass-backward.

Buy car
DD it (yeah, may have involved plates from a different car)
Gut ONLY enough to cage
Place seat and or 5 gallon bucket in seating position
Install pre-bent cage...may involve removing sound deadening or just catching it on fire.
Curse your poor measuring skills
Figure out where the battery goes (99% of the time first race answer should be STOCK LOCATION unless you have a Pontiac Trans Sport)
Install kill switch
Verify you wired kill switch incorrectly
Fix kill switch but forget to cover one pole with tape so you fail tech
Install belts
Start car/van for the first time in months
Verify defroster still works (no, dead shit serious, make sure you have a defroster for all but three races in this country)
Install fire extinguisher
Realize fire extinguisher digs into tallest drivers leg...and ignore this fact
Test drive again
Realize you forgot XYZ and scramble to buy in the last week before the race
Throw accessory belt (s) repeatedly on TnT day
Fail tech because of pole not covered on kill switch and exhaust a little too loose
Fix, hopefully, belt jumping issue, cover pole, bailing wire exhaust
Pass tech
Drink heavily and tell lies.

Re: More Checklist Chat - Building the Car

gunn wrote:

s, gutting dash, etc.

I would also say 14 should come before 13.

SHOULD, sure. Ends up, well that's all dependent on a greater power (ie the cage guy)

Mistake By The Lake Racing (MBTL)
88 Thunderbird "THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO!"
A&D: 2014 Sebrings at Sebring (NSF), 2014 NJMP2 Jurassic Park (SpeedyCop), 2012 Summit Point J30 (PiNuts)

Re: More Checklist Chat - Building the Car

Gut interior and cage the car before anything else. This approach is like setting the ships on fire when you reach the new world. Now there is no turning back. When you find the motor is blown, that repair is nothing compared to the fab work you’ve already done.

TriLamb Motorsports ‘87 528e

Re: More Checklist Chat - Building the Car

This is a good point. Leverage the sunk cost fallacy!

Mistake By The Lake Racing (MBTL)
88 Thunderbird "THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO!"
A&D: 2014 Sebrings at Sebring (NSF), 2014 NJMP2 Jurassic Park (SpeedyCop), 2012 Summit Point J30 (PiNuts)

Re: More Checklist Chat - Building the Car

A few modifications:

1. Build a budget (including how to get to track and back, plus at least 10% pad)
2. Discuss budget with team and define how and when money gets paid up. Collect first round of funds.
3. Get Car
4. Drive it, inspect it, find out what's actually broke, not what the dingus you bought it off of says is broke
5. Create a priority list (what has to be fixed for the first race, what would be nice to fix, etc.)
6. Revise budget based on priority list, collect second round of funds.
7. Flush fluids, including gas tank and brake lines
8. Fix motor, transmission, rear end, brakes, wheel bearings, or ball joints that are on priority list
9. Define the theme and get people started working it.
10. Gut Interior, sell what you can, recycle what you can, preserve all harnesses and electronics.
11. Get race seat, kill switch, harness and fire extinguisher. Do test fit and measurements to provide to cage builder.
12. Schedule Cage Install.
13. Mount the seat and harness floor anchors BEFORE the cage gets installed
14. Drop car off for cage install, buy a cage kit or build it yourself
15. Make sure at least two non builder people independently inspect that cage using Lemons rules (360 welds, door bar distances, helmet height, seat back distance, spreader plate sizes, etc.)
16. Install and test kill switch
17 Final install of seat, belts and fire extenguisher
18 Test egress with each driver
19. Buy tires and personal safety gear
20. Pay Lemons fees
21 Finish the theme
22 Walk through the latest version of the tech sheet as a team
23 Load it up, get to the track early and hook up with an experienced team

Re: More Checklist Chat - Building the Car

New builds always boil down to:

Do all fab work at home if possible.

Everything else can happen at the track.

Get through tech first. Make it work second.

You don't need new wheel bearings to get through tech inspection. You don't need new shocks AT ALL to get around the track. But you do need a working kill switch before you can get a sticker on your windshield.

Re: More Checklist Chat - Building the Car

Spank wrote:

New builds always boil down to:

Do all fab work at home if possible.

Everything else can happen at the track.

Get through tech first. Make it work second.

You don't need new wheel bearings to get through tech inspection. You don't need new shocks or tires AT ALL to get around the track. But you do need a working kill switch before you can get a sticker on your windshield.

Fixed it for you...

That guy

Re: More Checklist Chat - Building the Car

A key part that wasn't covered yet to building a car is money.  At point 3 or 4 from the original list you are fully committed so you need to figure out how to fund it.  If you are looking for guys to buy in then you need to get a fair amount of cash from them up front, otherwise they will back out as soon as they realize it's more time, work, and money than expected. 

So step 3. Find at least 3 other guys to join in, step 4 get some cash up front.

Team Glue Sticks
00 Firebird, 02 X-Type, 93 NX2000, 00 Mazda 626 (Sold)
2016 NJMP Heroic Fix, 2017 NJMP Near Heroic Fix except we can't drive, 2017 Thompson I Got Screwed

Re: More Checklist Chat - Building the Car

meyers0150 wrote:

A key part that wasn't covered yet to building a car is money.  At point 3 or 4 from the original list you are fully committed so you need to figure out how to fund it.  If you are looking for guys to buy in then you need to get a fair amount of cash from them up front, otherwise they will back out as soon as they realize it's more time, work, and money than expected. 

So step 3. Find at least 3 other guys to join in, step 4 get some cash up front.

For some people, where there's a will, there's a way, so your proposed step would simply delay progress.

It can help to get invested team members once they can hold the puppy.

If it's your primary hobby, your'e going to spend what you will setting up a car either way.

Mistake By The Lake Racing (MBTL)
88 Thunderbird "THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO!"
A&D: 2014 Sebrings at Sebring (NSF), 2014 NJMP2 Jurassic Park (SpeedyCop), 2012 Summit Point J30 (PiNuts)

Re: More Checklist Chat - Building the Car

I took the Field of Dreams Approach: “If you build it, they will come”.

Starting the car build solo is more fun and easier than recruiting people to buy into a LLP with interest in said LLP transferable only with written permission of the executive board.

Just have fun building a race car. You will learn a lot and probably gain some new skills. When people see what you have created, they will ask to join.  If your friends aren’t excited to drive your race car, you are hanging out with the wrong people. 

In my experience, the biggest threshold to recruitment is getting people to invest in driver’s gear, not sharing of car expenses.

TriLamb Motorsports ‘87 528e

Re: More Checklist Chat - Building the Car

13a. Realize that even with measuring and planning that the seat mount may need to be re-worked after cage install to fit drivers big noggins 2" under the top hoop.

Re: More Checklist Chat - Building the Car

OnkelUdo wrote:

Drink heavily and tell lies.

I think we had this part covered extremely well....

Team BAD Company Endurance
Acura RSX #0
4 times losers, and counting...
"I got screwed" winners? 2018 Cure for Gingervitis, 5th on laps overall 2018 Elite meet to Cheat

Re: More Checklist Chat - Building the Car

Rustyjeep wrote:
OnkelUdo wrote:

Drink heavily and tell lies.

I think we had this part covered extremely well....

Hey, you also mad new friends, put our hardest working team member through his paces (engine hoist) and did not die.  Good weekend overall.

17 (edited by Bayley 2018-07-10 12:35 PM)

Re: More Checklist Chat - Building the Car

OnkelUdo wrote:

...
DD it (yeah, may have involved plates from a different car)
...

^^^ THIS! ^^^ 

Drive your car on the street as much as humanly possible BEFORE taking it to your first track day or race. It doesn't matter if you're gunning for IOE or overall, street miles a lot cheaper and easier to rack up than track miles.

Also, save the cage install until the absolute end of the project. WAAAY too many new teams start ripping shit out at the beginning of the project ('Hey pa, we dun' gonna build ourselves a RACE CAR!') only to realize they have no idea idea how the car actually drives since nobody bother to test anything before it was all ripped up.

The Pentastar whisperer

18 (edited by m610 2018-07-20 07:29 AM)

Re: More Checklist Chat - Building the Car

The list of what we should do, or did do?

  1. Pitch the idea to a friend during a chance meeting in town. Laugh it off.

  2. Get an email a few hours later from said friend who found a candidate on eBay.

  3. Reply with link to another eBay ad with a candidate car.

  4. Go see the cars. The same guy was selling both. Neither run and both stink horribly. I sit in one anyway. I fit. Sold.

  5. Try to break friend's arm unloading the cars at home. First blood.

  6. Stand around staring at it. Where to start? Let's try the front brakes. I've done brake jobs before. Consult parts car when we can't figure out how to reassemble the brakes.

  7. The brakes are hopeless, let's strip the car instead.

  8. Three weeks (working on it every day) later the "breaking bolts" phase of the build is done and we actually put a part on the car.

  9. Hope and pray the engine runs. With a gas can on the roof and three fire extinguishers at the ready, it starts, runs, blows rust and wasp's nests out the exhaust, and I finally meet my next door neighbor.

  10. Take it to John for a cage. John swaps plug wires. Engine runs even better now.

  11. Sand the car for days to remove a skin of bondo. Discuss related matters with my new neighbor friend.

  12. Rubber bushings have rotted to near-graphite. Re-bush.

  13. Install good brakes.

  14. Install good gas tank.

  15. Rewire the car.

  16. Recore the leaky radiator.

  17. Upgrade suspension to sway bars.

  18. Roller on yellow Rust-Oleum.

  19. Put the car on the trailer. Paint is not dry yet.

  20. Have Brian Doty do a few test day laps. Bring Brian right back in to tighten lug nuts.

  21. Have Brian start the race for us. Twenty minutes later the transmission is broken.

  22. Swap in spare transmission.

  23. Overheat.

  24. Get black flagged for a PUY.

  25. Get black flagged for four-off.

  26. Very next lap, get black flagged for going four off.

  27. Sit out the rest of Saturday.

  28. Somehow get through Sunday and finish the race.

Re: More Checklist Chat - Building the Car

hmm, lets see...heres how it went down for us.

1. Talk about racing Lemons with friends/family at kid birthday party
2. Talk about racing Lemons with friends/family at kid birthday party
3. Talk about racing Lemons with friends/family at kid birthday party, year 3. Make "real"commitment to doing this. (January 2017)
4. Immediately look on Craigslist for shit cars.
5. Text back and forth with team members about what car to buy for like 2 months
6. Find "perfect car" while at the local tow lot. Immediately pay the $250 bucks before yard man can change his mind on price. (March 2017)
7. Take lots of before pictures for whatever reason. Maybe judges would want to see it, even if they don't care really, and will penalize anyway.
8. Spend one beer-laden night gutting the hell out of the car.
9. Decide the rest of the broken windshield should probably come out.
10. Use shop hoist to raise caved roof to approximate normal position.
11. Wearing Moto-x goggles, drive our new "racecar" around the city parking lots.
12. Work whenever possible after work to fix all reliability issues.
13. Get race seat and sliders

Notice, no cage yet...

14. Finally find someone to bend/weld cage in (Beginning of April 2017)
15. Nervously buy race stuff (wheels/tires/race safety gear, so forth) while car is being caged.
16.Finally get car back and whirlwind the rest of the build in time for spring Gingerman race (late April 2017)
17.Fail tech because of cage baseplate welding.
18. Drive racecar on interstate to get back to cage builder on Friday early afternoon. Help him fix all issues Friday night.
19. Drive racecar on interstate back to racetrack at 11:30 pm
20. Realize I left my coat at the shop with race trailer keys in it (trailer was locked)
21. Drive there and back again.
22. Pass tech and race that mofo.

23. Wait until its almost next race to do anything to racecar again...

Team BAD Company Endurance
Acura RSX #0
4 times losers, and counting...
"I got screwed" winners? 2018 Cure for Gingervitis, 5th on laps overall 2018 Elite meet to Cheat

Re: More Checklist Chat - Building the Car

Rustyjeep wrote:

20. Realize I left my coat at the shop with race trailer keys in it (trailer was locked)
23. Wait until its almost next race to do anything to racecar again...

20....don't bother locking it, your truck, your DD or anything else once in the gates at Gingerman or Autobahn.

23...that is how most teams seem to do it but just does not fly with my team.  I am more diligent on my racecar by a factor 20 than my DD hooptie.  The car/van co-owner is and engineer so...'nough said.  We do tend to leave them fallow for a month or two after the October race until we realize they need coolant RIGHT NOW...then we start working on them again.