Well before we take a 5 hour tow to robling road I need some time to see if this new motor is first broken in and then insure all things are working. Living in the south we have small circle tracks nearby, mine is caraway speedway. It's I believe a 3/8th circle track. Rental was for two hours and I shared it with pro stock truck doing the same breaking in a new motor. Rolled off with new alignment setup not for circle track but the road course. Car ran for 20 min hard but could only use 3/4 gears and never went over 6k. Circle track guys really do work hard. Oil pressure 80psi, water temp with both fans on, 190, oil temp went as high as 240 but no higher. Made two data logs and two reprograms A/F at full throttle was at 12.2-12.5. We have room but I need to protect this baby so rich not lean. Will load and go thur to the track for a fri test day. I have a semi pro driver friend spending the day where I am sticking him in the car to overlay data to mine and see what can be done to go faster or realize car can I can't, not worried I just want to see if and what next. So I also know that circle track running is fun but not my cup of tea.
Test day different, car ran hot, water 215, both fans on. We use water and one pint of water wetter. That's the rules. Now the one that is scary, oil temp thru the roof, Stewart warner gauge, 320 max and I pegged the needle. Lots of conversation with the builder. No cooler as we have been eliminating possible engine failure items, one being the cooler so no cooler. Valve cover vent and PVC plate, pushing a little oil out. Have to zip tie the oil dip stick, pushing out and spraying a little. Oil change and two filters pulled and cut open, all looked good. So we qualified this morning with the new setup, included new size front tires, 225-45-15 and new alignment settings. Moved the rear bar stiffer. Proceeded to spin first lap on qualifier. Started 7 out of 9 in group. Well I taped over the oil temp to not look and worry, first lap got to 6th. 5 laps in got to 4th, lap 9 third and I can see 2nd. 13 lap race oh boy, then brain fart and spin, race over picked up a ton of dirt off track and massive vibration. Set up was wonderful if I can fix me who know. The winner turned 1:24:5, I turned 1:25:3. I can see if I can drive better we got a chance, just have to finish. Oh Savannah Georgia, time of race 1:00pm, 93 degrees and 95% humidity. I am not in shape, I melted.
Sun race report. Hotter, I can't believe hotter. 101 with 100 % humidity. Shouldn't that just mean it's raining? Well qualified much better Sunday. 4 sec better yet I still start 5th. Well the start is perfect, I anticipate and a lane opens on the inside. I actually went to first before the first turn. Now let me preface the front straight is almost 1/2 mile long so I had some room. Ok, perfect start and by turn 6 it all went to ****. I looked down and aim data info dash was blank, no info, no shift light, no temp nothing. So what do I do, bang the limiter, limp mode engage. Dam. As they stream by I recycle the master, restart, no gauges but running. 5 laps in I am back to 3rd, lap 7 full course caution, and a restart, great. Good restart, and I get 2nd, chasing 1st, and fight for three laps until going for a final pass I lose power steering which I know means I lost the belt and yep there it is over heat, steam. One lap to go. Certainly an eventful weekend and this week I get to see if I hurt the new motor, which runs to hot.
Well motor seemed fine, we check almost everything, speak to the builder and decide to put the cooler on. Mocul unit with an 10 lines into the oil filter plate. Bad luck prior to loading up the car, should have stayed at home. Trip to track is 4 hours, traffic made it 7. 30 miles out blowout on trailer, 1/2 mile from exit, stupid move, blow out number two tire. Hell I have two spares, wish I had a way to lift a 10k trailer. 2 hour wait in the rain waiting for assistance, finally arrive at track, no power at the paddock. Unload and find power but not enough to run a/c so get a hotel. Oh yeah, two moves of the trailer and forgot to lock down the tool box, dam they make big dents in the trailer. Qualified great sat morning, on the pole. All is good until the race, lost oil pressure lap 3, and lost the motor. My fault for not catching it quick enough. Time to go home, change the spares for the new trailer tires, forgot to chock the trailer so bent the race jack when the trailer started to roll and busted the trailer lift jack. So laugh about this weekend and know you gotta try to beat my bad luck from this event.
Ok so we have lost to many motors and it seems three builders all got it wrong. I doubt it, each build was done close to the same in terms of ingredients. New oil pump, new crank, new rods, new Pistons all the same. Core blocks all from running assemblies. Every block was punched 20 over. Stock motor which I got the car with is box stock bsd delete as the only mod and a tune. Runs great for 3 race seasons, put back in this year, 4 more races and 3 wins. Not hooked up to my oil temp gauge as the pan for this motor was not drilled. Yes have a windage tray in this unit. Runs great and good oil pressure. Water temp around 210 at pace. So that's the stock unit and the race pieces all had a cooler. Each one got a new cooler to prevent contamination and the first two we had an accusump and each unit had a mocul cooler mounted up front of the radiator connected to the oil plate at the filter with an-10 lines. So the world says oil temp is life, and the last two motors ran 280-320 degrees. Both had coolers. Speaking to one of the guys who goes against the norm and who is my tuner, first the an10 lines are to large, the run to and from the cooler is to long, and the temp while high compared to the normal motor theory is normal on the Duratec. He has way more experience with these and all things focus than most. When we look at what is the only thing different from the stock motor and the last motor which we had one good weekend besides high temp with out a cooler. Checked everything before we loaded up and we put on the cooler. 20 mins of great running and high oil temp and then boom. What does the focus world say.
Ok the last weekend is coming up. We installed a freshened original motor. Instructions to the machine shop was simple, number two cylinder was down on compression and high on leakdown. Needed new valve seals, new rings, new head gasket and head bolts. That's it, so with one oil leak fixed we have the best motor in, actually the only one that hasn't blowed up. Ran the car for a total of 12 miles around the shop. Good oil pressure and good water temp. I don't know oil temp and don't want to know. So this weekend we do suspension setup, nut and bolt check, review brakes and load up. Fingers crossed for one good weekend, the last for this year.
Aligned, scaled and almost loaded. Put together the front undertray and went thru all the slightly used tire selection. We have one 45 min race and two 30 min sprints. Each has a qualifier and fri is 1/2 day test to make sure all is functioning properly. Car running around the shop feels like it should and all the gauges are showing good safe readings for a change. Loading up and off on Thursday to the track.
I just looked and I never updated what happened. Test day went fine, everything ran as it should. Qualifying was terrific for me, put the car in the number two spot with a terrific time only to be bested by a Miata running a split or dual class, STL and ITA. what's allowed in STL is more open than ITA but it's my job to know whats allowed and what's not. Hell its all for a 5$ plaque. Out qualified by 2 sec, he did great and I actually put down a terrific lap also. Race time and the 2.3 out muscles silly miatas, and for 7 laps he chased me. But gotta finish. The engine was my orginal stock motor, a wonderful stock motor just freshend. Backed by the 4:25 final drive gearbox with a 1:1 5 th. VIR is a long track, to long for this box. 5th gear stock bottom end and long back stretch at 7400 rpm just don't work. Boom yep another motor. So winter is almost over and start up is process.
We freshend a stock motor cheap, and are waiting the real motor. Shop in Charlotte building this one with a lot of work done on the head, 20 over, ranger crank, arp, wiesco pistons eagle rods. The best of what we have found before I blow it up) so hope it arrives soon.
Suspension upgrade include new bushings and spherical bearings in the rear. Front bumper redue with new air intakes for the brakes ducts.
Then I reviewed the STL rules, and my buddy I decided to play in that group. More allowances and the chance to run the majors. The platform is a stalled STU project built by a friend. The biggest difference in this class is 2.0 liter max. But any ford 2.0 liter allowed. So Svt or Duratec, probably going to do Duratec as the knowledge for us is almost there and will transfer over to this one. Oh yeah it's a 2005 zx3 platform. So with this car the goals for the year are just see what we have, just completed a new trans for the car and all new safety equipment. See where we are good verse competion and then mid season take stock of what it needs, what we want, and what we can afford. Allowed brakes, allowed aero, allowed weight relocation as in glass out, lexan in, carbon fiber replacement panels allowed. All for the goal to get to 2580lbs. And get to the runoffs. In a couple of seasons as funds allow.
Ok so just a few days left before the first weekend on track. A few all nighters and both cars the ITA car and the STL car both came off the alignment rack tonight. Getting one car ready is a pain but two is a ball buster. The STL car required all fluids changed, an alignment, setup for corner weights and the new 5th gear in which is allowed in this class. Tuning in the am with the a/f gauge installed today. This weekend we break in the new motor for ITA motor. Oh just a note to self, if you explode a motor check the radiator. Ask me why, well Sunday night it's three hours later than when you told your wife I would be home, go for a start and leaks all over. Seems that the last explosion was the best, as no less than 4 pieces went into the radiator broke three fins off the fans and when do we discover this, sure after the motor is in. Just another thing to inspect if we have a motor issue. ( holes in the block). Gotta laugh cause what's left.
Ok update. So new motor needs to be warmed up, break in time. Just drive around parking lot, warm up the motor nothing more than 4K rpm. It's Monday night, I need to get a data log sent to my tuner expert. 10 min in I hear an ugly rattle. DAM, into the shop and a few quick looks and the crank bolt is less than hand tight. Well u know the rest, tapped oh most of the valves on a brand new build. First race of the year 4 days a way. Grab the totally stock head and tues we pull the new built head and put on the stock unit. The Pistons have a lovely mark on them but I am going racing. Motor ran and we were able to get a data log off to the tuner. Test day we had the new STL car and the ITA car for testing. STL all we were trying to do was to base line everything from brakes to power levels, suspension feel and performance. So here is what happens. We ain't prepared to run to cars, it's to much and we didn't have enough help and our prep wasn't enough. Gotta call it what it is, not prepared. The STL car runs smooth, stops straight, pulls thru all the gears, slight grind into third, and will not accelerate past 5500 in 5th. Couple of attempts and a wall. Off track call the tuner expert with a data log. Takes some time to get it back and forth, don't drive this car until we change the tune, stupid lean that's a big wall. So move to the ITA car, first session nothing more than 6 k and all seems ok, gear box shifts great, brakes nice, balance of the car is spot on. All fluids look good, second session 3 laps, oh shoot, dreaded rattle, off, coast into pits, pull plugs, and wow, the number 4 plug is slammed shut. What happened to this. The intake valve broke off a head and it wedged in the piston. Done. Ok play with the STL car. Competion is small car runs well and the tune sent saved the motor. We did well but the competion in this class was small as compared to the ITA class. So one car on the trailer and the other we had some good learning. Thanks to pat who does all the heavy work and Tom who controls all the computer conversation for the tune. That was all last weekend, this week we pulled the second head off, and now I have two heads being repaired and one completely ruined new piston needing replacement. Next race might be missed. Losing my sense of humor but all the help,and friends make it a weekend still worth the effort.
Ok update, took two cars to tom for dyno time. The ITA car has a 20 over ranger crank, eagle rods weisco pistons and head work by tom. This engine has been a bear to get right, my fault and some parts issues. Well now running but bad knock. Lots of time and we throw tons of new parts at it. New o2 new knock sensor, new crank and cam sensor, new fuel. We keep pulling timing out. Back to dyno, no knock, ok let's try to tune this. 4 hours later, we have a safe tune, good power, more torque and good a/f numbers. Tom found 10 hp and more torque. Next up the STL car. We had a super rich tune and adequate power. 3 hours and tom found 8 hp, and more torque so really pleased with this car. Off to the track.
Two short sprints for both cars for the weekend. Sat the ITA qualified 3rd, with my best time at 2:19.6. Really pleased, ran down the leaders and passed for 1st. Then brain farted and spun off, all my fault. Raced back to 7th. Big smile car ran great and I ran 2:18.9. Best time ever for me. Sun, qualified 5th, with a 2:19.4 but everyone went faster. Had a killer start, went to 2nd, yes killer start but some body damage to show for it. Lap 7 and I make a killer pass for the lead and before the next turn I get punted off. Race back to third. Protest and get second. Here is the best part, turned a 2:18.0. Best ever and I have been at this track with this car since 2011. This motor is gooood yet it's not the highest hp motor we have had.
The STL car is now coming around, 3 hours of seat adjustments and now the thing fits, the new brakes are wow and we qualified well. One the pole sat and we win. Sun we qualified again on the pole and run easy until full course caution, field bunches up and I got beat on the start, we race bumper to bumper for 4 laps and I pass on the last lap, under the yellow, give it back and finish 2nd. Best part 2:20.3. 3 full sec better than March. Toms tune and more seat time.
Now to work on finding the oil leak, think it's the power steering, we will see this weekend.
Ok trying to get ready for the next event and doing my normal nut and bolt check. Been trying to trace a oil leak on the pass side of the motor. The PVC delate was suspect, so off the manifold comes and resealed. Nope, not it, then thought it was the catch tank, reroute the lines from the valve cover and the PVC. Nope. Dye in the crank case, nope, what else, oh yeah power steering. The lines show no leaks but the pump itself is actually leaking behind the pulley. Seems there is a seal there. What could cause this. Then I remembered that when we have pulled the motor to replace we separate thenps pump but do not open the system, and I hang the pump from the pulley. Great idea, don't do it that way, cause replacing the pump and lines is messy, really really messy. Done with help from a tech at the shop, and refilled and cleaned up. Will test at some point in the am, hoping that fixes the leak.