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docwyte PowerDork
4/5/22 5:05 p.m.

I use a vacuum air lift setup.  It sucks a vacuum on the entire system and then pulls all the coolant in.  Works perfectly, especially on a car like my 996 with the engine in the back and all the lines/radiators in the front.

On my S52 plugs were fine, compression was fine, head gasket was bad.  Coolant overflow tank was empty and pressurized.

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
4/5/22 7:45 p.m.

I ordered a vacuum coolant setup. Figure I can pressure test the system to see if it hold vacuum, and if it does I can bleed it better. If it doesn't....HG it is.

As noted, I pulled the coils and plugs and nothing looked amiss. All six plugs looked identical and shining a light down the plug hole the piston tops looked normal/identical as well

While I was at it did a compression test (cold) and compression seems good, though a bit more uneven than ideal, but should be fine on that end. No real outliers.

ok, enough of the engine for the moment. Before I mess with that any further, I want to get the transmission swap done and if that's good, then I can test a few other things on the cooling/bleeding (and turn the car around in the garage if I need to do engine work).

So....under the car this evening, getting very very dirty (rally car!). Anyhow, got the driveshaft and shifter stuff out

I'll pull the old transmission tomorrow and get the new one ready to go in. I also have a new clutch, CSB, and am getting a front driveshaft half from bluej (Josh S.). I had thought I would need to make some sleeves for teh M10 e30 driveshaft bolts to the m12 e36 guibo, and had already made them (using some steel tube and a 10mm drill bit I ordered. Then found out that the 6-cylinder e36 driveshaft is actually M12....so....go figure. I never knew that because the 5 e30 driveshafts I've owned over the years were all 4-cylinder, which are M10. Doh.

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
4/6/22 8:07 p.m.

Ordered up a few diagnotic things to see about whether I have a HG issue or something else (fingers crossed....) as well as a new thermostat. Maybe next week I'll flush and re-bleed everything and see how the temps look. In the meantime, time to keep going on the transmission. Only had a couple hours today but got very dirty again getting the old transmission out. Many berkeleyS were said while trying to get to the stupid upper starter bolt and a couple others with another 5lbs of dirt falling all over me...., but finally got it out.

Also pulled the clutch to replace and was pretty surprised how little wear this OEM-type Sachs clutch has. I can't recall if I swapped it to a new one when I put the M50 in (guess I could go back 30 pages and see...) but I *think* this is the same clutch I originally put in when I did the M20 flywheel swap on to the old M42. If that's the case, this has about 8 years of rally/rallycross on it. Not bad :)

But, I have a new one for it so went ahead an installed it and will keep this one for a spare and/or if I put an M20 FW in the other e30 project. That one has a very worn clutch for the M42 flywheel on it, so it's either buy a new clutch for it, or buy a single-mass FW and a starter. The latter is sounding better now that I see how good this old clutch is.

I had planned to change out the slave cylinder and line, but looks like I ordered the wrong line, for the later e36 328....which apparently has a different style of fitting to the slave. That's annoying, so will have to get a new one I guess, or see if I can make the e30 one work somehow.

In addition, the e21 323 TOB in the car still feels good so I'll probably just re-use it, since the e36 TOB is about 1/2cm. too short (though apparently still works fine). IDK, will take a look at that later. 

rallyxPOS13 GRM+ Memberand Reader
4/6/22 9:19 p.m.

For what it's worth:  I was a couple cars back when you'd launch, and watched you through corner #2 before I got up to the line.  I didn't see any white smoke, or smell any coolant.   That said, not 100% sure I'd notice mixed in with dust.   

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
4/6/22 9:26 p.m.
rallyxPOS13 said:

For what it's worth:  I was a couple cars back when you'd launch, and watched you through corner #2 before I got up to the line.  I didn't see any white smoke, or smell any coolant.   That said, not 100% sure I'd notice mixed in with dust.   

Thanks, I meant to ask the people who were running behind me so that's helpful. Yeah, nobody seems to have seen any and I haven't noticed any notable amount when idling or revving either. I'm wondering if I'm just losing coolant in some other way, which is certainly possible with all the janky coolant hose setup I have on this thing. I smelled the exhaust several times and didn't notice any coolant smell (and the car currently has 50-50 mix in it, so it should be apparent. 

bluej (Forum Supporter)
bluej (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
4/6/22 9:36 p.m.

Have you brought it up to temp, and run hard, somewhere other than on dirt? Wondering if it's not holding pressure, and you/no one has noticed the leaking because of always being on grass/dirt during competition.


irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
4/6/22 10:14 p.m.
bluej (Forum Supporter) said:

Have you brought it up to temp, and run hard, somewhere other than on dirt? Wondering if it's not holding pressure, and you/no one has noticed the leaking because of always being on grass/dirt during competition.


Not recently. I changed out the water in the cooling system for 50-50 before the winter but really didn't drive it much at all after that and may not have done a good bleed at the time since I wasn't going to drive it. So it's totally possible it just wasn't bled and when I ran it hard at the rallycross the coolant level dropped and caused the initial temp spike. IDK, it took a LOT of water and the car had only been running for about 5-10 minutes. I added a liter bottle, plus 3 or 4 12oz bottles. There's NO way the car could have burned even a fraction of that amount in the 15 minutes total it had run since I changed the coolant. So I'm leaning toward it just not being even close to full when I got there, or with a bunch of air in the system (especially the heater core).

It's also possible it was simply dripping/losing coolant all winter (I often noticed drip marks on the driveway at the front of the car where it sits but assumed it was just water from the car cover dripping). 

Another data point: after refilling the coolant but probably not doing a very good bleed on-site, the car was idling around 220* and getting up to 230-240 after a hard run (and we ran uphill, so it was WOT the whole time).

However, last season running water + water wetter it usually idles around 205-210 and hits maybe 220+ right after a run. Water is substantially better at cooling than 50-50 antifreeze, especially with water wetter. So the higher idle temp could very well be due to the difference in coolant. 

IDK, hard to diagnose. I'm going to do a coolant system pressure test and a leakdown test next week, so we'll see what that reveals (if anything). Then I'll use a vacuum coolant bleeder and fill with distilled and water wetter and take it out and run it hard and see how temps look. 

Other data point: it has a new (OEM) reservoir cap as of last year and seems to hold pressure fine. While I've been doing the transmission I'm under the car plenty and don't notice any evidence of leaking on anything under there, which would be obvious since everything is coated with dirt/dust. 

With any luck I'll have the transmission in this weekend so once I change the coolant (and get the DS from you) I can do some test-drivign. 

docwyte PowerDork
4/7/22 8:49 a.m.

Many times these will drive around perfectly fine on the street and will only show symptoms on hard track use.

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
4/7/22 10:16 a.m.
docwyte said:

Many times these will drive around perfectly fine on the street and will only show symptoms on hard track use.

Oh I'm not just going to go tool around on the street. 

In the end, If it looks okay under some hard driving non-competition, I will take it to the rally sprint test day in 3 weeks and give it a go while keeping an eye on the temperature gauge. 

While I would say there is a decent chance of this being a head gasket or a cracked head, both of those things are a ton of work so I'm not going to do them unless I've done sufficient testing and ruled out other things like air pockets. 

I will note that for years my M42 would have occasional temperature spikes at competitions (up to about 240) and did that for years and like six stage rallies without ever actually boiling over. 

I also will note that you mentioned you are talking about m52/s52, which have the coolant sensor in the thermostat housing as I recall. The M50 actually has it in the head itself and from everything I've read registers higher temperatures than the OBD2 cars do just due to the location of the sensor. 

Seems to me that most guys with m52 and m54 say that on track they run around 200° via an aftermarket sensor and gauge, while M50 guys seem to talk about 220 to 230 degrees fairly frequently. 

Curiously everything I've read indicates that the OEM temperature gauge basically shows dead center from 180° to 220° and doesn't even start moving up until 230+ on m50 cars. 

In any case I guess I'll find out one way or the other lol. I am also keeping an eye out for cheap m50s for sale since it's probably a good idea to have a rebuilt spare regardless.

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
4/7/22 8:13 p.m.

Back to work! But before I move on with the transmission, just going to jump ahead real quick here. So, as I was wrangling the new transmission into place, tilted the engine up and down a couple times (incidentally) and as I'm lying under there I hear.....someone taking a leak in my garage??? WTF. I get up, and look down, and the floor in front of the car has a nice puddle. Then I look up above it and there are drips from the lower radiator hose, and the whole area near the hose where it goes onto the radiator is wet, and there's evidence of water spray on the inside of my skidplate side shields. hmmmmmm. So that's where my coolant went! 

Thinking back, having not seen drips under the front of the car, it makes sense. it was leaking onto my skid plate side guards, which then routed it onto the skid plate, and it must have been pouring off at the rear end of the skid, back under the transmission - hence why it wouldn't have been obvious from the front of the car. 

Soooooo......I hope that was the only issue. It's obviously why the coolant was so low starting my first run and still lost some during the day (topped it off at lunchbreak). So I guess for some reason it only leaks when the engine/car moves a certain way. So I'll check the hose and/or replace it with a new clamp and snug it all up, and do a full vacuum bleed. So hopefully that takes care of things.

Back to the transmission. 

DIdn't have any issues getting it into place, but getting to the two upper bolts and the upper starter bolt here hell. This transmission is bigger than the G240 and has even less clearance on the tunnel and my arms and hands are pretty scuffed up from just trying to get the bolts in place - to say nothing of the big mix of sockets, u-joints, wobble joints, and extensions I had to use. Also had to make some new tools, lol

So when I took the transmission crossbrace off, both of the studs on the RevShift rear mounts I've had for a few years sheared off. They seem to be partly hollow and not great..

So I chopped off some 8.8 M10 bolts and made some new studs, since the mounts are otherwise in good shape and they're screw-in inserts.

Anyhow, all bolted up finally:

Also hooked up the tall shifiter as well as the DSSR. Fits pretty well though it has a slight rearward lean to it in neutral, but not much.

Still a good bit to do under there, but i have time, trying not to kill myself here.

On a related note, some pics from last weekend, from Tyler Flowers....

And some fellow GRM'ers

Shawn and Katie's Miata, sans front left hub and wheel...

bluej (Forum Supporter)
bluej (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
4/7/22 10:19 p.m.

woah! hadn't heard about the lost meotter wheel. that must have been exciting, especially if it was Shawn driving, given how fast he can push that thing.

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
4/8/22 10:40 a.m.
bluej (Forum Supporter) said:

woah! hadn't heard about the lost meotter wheel. that must have been exciting, especially if it was Shawn driving, given how fast he can push that thing.

I think it was Katie driving. It was an uphill turn pretty much right at the end of the course so she probably wasn't going too fast at that point and it was the unloaded inside wheel. So luckily I think it basically just kind of fell down rather than causing a big roll over or anything crazy.

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
4/8/22 10:13 p.m.

With the transmission in, I need to get my hands on the front driveshaft from Josh S., but some other stuff to do in the meantime. Diff swap. Since the G250 has closer ratios than the G240, it's going to be too short for rallycross - I'd have to use 3rd gear on the fast Panthera courses, which costs time. To get myself back near (or into) 2nd gear territory, figured I'd swap out the 4.10 LSD for my 3.73 LSD, which by my calculations will give me around 53mph in 2nd (the G240 with 4.10 comes out to around 58mph). Even our fast courses at Panthera usually only have one section where 60+ can be seen, and that's already a third gear area sometimes depending on layout. 

For stage, I plan to put the 4.10 back in since I'm using all the gears and want the closer speed ratios. Both diffs are 3-disc upgrades with increased lockup so should be pretty similar in traction performance in theory. 

Anyhow, out with the 4.10 and its nice red case. Especially easy since the driveshaft is already out. A few notes for those doing e30 builds:

1. life is much easier with the spare tire well cut out - so much more room to work under there and much easier to access all sections of the diff.

2. life is much easier if you put studs in the four upper diff bolt holes - makes aligning things much easier. I use bullet-nose wheel studs for that. 

3. life is much easier with two access holes drilled through the body directly above the upper diff bolts. They're super annoying to get off the "stock" way - requiring a combination wrench since you can't fit a socket up there. With the holes above them, just loosen/tighten them from above with an impact or big ratchet.  I cover the holes with a couple piece of Gorilla tape to keep dust/dirt out. 

So, 4.10 out and non-pretty 3.73 in. 

That's it for the night. I have a couple replacement cooling parts on the way (including a new lower hose since the one I just took off looks pretty old and perhaps that's why it's not sealing well, as well as a new reservoir - since it would be nice to have one that's still clear so I can actually see the coolant level without opening the cap. The current one is an OEM one that's still fully functional but yellowed enough that you can't see the coolant level inside except with a flashlight at night. 


irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
4/9/22 8:25 p.m.

Got my hands on a new lower radiator hose at NAPA. Since I did the swap I've been using a chopped OEM hoses that never really fit right (but I kind of forgot about that) and it rubbed against the front of the timing case as well once I put the 3-row radiator in. The NAPA 8484 is the usual 24v swap hose that people use so i got that

Fits correctly, and I used a better hose clamp, so hopefully no more leaks 

I also got a new overflow reservoir, as noted above, and put that in. Can actually see through this one since it's not all yellowed after 30 years of use....

Then took off all the underbody "armor" so I can powerwash the underbody sheet metal in a few days. Forgot how much protection is under there (and how much it weighs), and there was a good 10-15 lbs of dried mud and dirt crammed in around/above it. Guess I should drop this stuff more often.

looks naked under there...

Also cleaned off other stuff that I've removed, transmission, diff, and driveshafts. I forgot about my driveshaft markings...

With all the underbody protection off, it did reveal the downside ot not taking this stuff regularly and cleaning stuff. With light coming in below, I found two small pinholes under the driver footwell (just patched them up with seam sealer). But also found that the typical e30 trouble area - the rear floor pan "drains" had rotted away some. I replaced the passenger side one a decade ago and it's fine. This one still has the original trouble area which has now finally gotten to a point where I need to repair it. In addition, the rust was right where my underguard bolts in with weldnuts, so it needs to have some strength to it.

So cut the entire "plug" area out

I've used all my sheet metal up on other projects recently, so time to cut into my last big thing: the original hood from the rallycar, which I had previously used for welding practice (sheet metal) so it's warped and janky anyhow. Still makes me a bit sad to cut it up but it will live on in the e30 in another manner....

Just tacked in for now, will finish it up tomorrow

dj06482 (Forum Supporter)
dj06482 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
4/9/22 11:10 p.m.

I'm not sure what cooling setup you're running, but my M52 E36 had a bad radiator cap. I couldn't figure out why I had a slow coolant leak until one night when I popped the hood and lit up the engine bay. With the light, I could see a fine mist of coolant coming from the radiator cap as the car was running. 

It looks like you already found your coolant leak, but wanted to add that data point. 

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
4/9/22 11:31 p.m.

Thanks - I'm running a 3-row e36-sized aluminum radiator with an M20 (e30) expansion tank. Unfortunately, way too tight in there to fit the factory crank-driven fan (which is far more effective than electric fans), or even an electric puller, so I have the biggest/highest CFM pusher fan I could find which is probably not as effective as a puller would be. 

I actually suspected the radiator cap last year so replaced it :) That's an interesting thought to look at things at night and see if any mist can be seen. I'll pressure-test the system in the next few days to make sure that was the only leak. Fingers crossed!

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
4/10/22 1:17 p.m.

A bit of frustration this morning. I went to Josh S's place and picked up the front half of the driveshaft, which is in good shape. Since this is an e30 driveshaft with M10 bolts and I have an e36 transmission with M12 bolts, I could use either guibo but would have to make some sleeves. Decided to go with the beefier e36 guibo so had to make some M10 to M12 sleeves for it

The steel tube I bought was supposed to be 10mm ID and 12mm OD, but the ID was more like 10.xx, so I got a 10mm drill bit and drilled it out slightly so the bolts would fit.

In any case, they work fine

Then I swapped on a new CSB that I had bought and installed the driveshaft. 

The good news: the DS, guibo, bolts, etc all fit perfectly.

The bad news: the CSB I put on does NOT fit. WTF. It's supposed to line up to these bolt holes but is too narrow

And yeah, I have TWO of these, so matched up the other one with the old CSB I took off

hmm, why didn't I check that before? I'll tell you why   - the part number stamped on it shows M10 e30s (and all other e30s0 as correct fit on multiple sites, so not sure what gives unless Rein stamped the wrong part with the right number. This looks like an e36 CSB but the number shows e30 part. So took it all back out and will have to get the correct one and do it all again lol. 

In other news, I noticed a tiny bit of transmission fluid by the seam on the transmission where the front and rear casings meet (the G240 has a single-piece case). I'm really hoping this is just some leftover from when I filled it that somehow ran down there, but IDK. I cleaned it up good and will check again in a day. It's odd, where the leak is there seems to be a bolt hole, but it has a stud in it of some sort. I figure it's an aligning stud for putting the case together, but I wonder if there's supposed to be a bolt there instead. If this leak continues, I may drill out the stud and put a bolt through there regardless. TBD.

EDIT: RealOEM shows there is a dowel pin there, so that's correct. 

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
4/17/22 1:15 p.m.

Alright, got the CSB issue taken care of and the drivetrain back together. Also took the opportunity to actually clean out everything inside the car for the first time in a long time. 

So just needed to add coolant and bleed it all and then go test-drive. I got myself one of these fancy vacuum bleeders from Mishimoto. Cost a shade more than the Amazon Chinese brands but the quality seems a lot nicer. Pulled a (relatively) heavy vacuum just to see if it would hold, and it seemed to hold. 

So pulled a vacuum on the coolant system....yep, that worked

And filled everything up with distilled and water wetter and bled. Then went for a test drive after idling for about 20 minutes showing 190-195* or so (pretty typical for this car since I've owned it). I didn't get a 1/4 mile through my neighborhood before temps started spiking again and were close to 240* by the time I got back home. Hmm. So, shut it down again and then poked around some more. First thing I noticed was that the lower radiator hose was still cold.....it really should be warm by then, but no trace of warmth on a fairly cool morning. 

This obviously points to either a bad water pump or a bad/stuck thermostat. The water pump is a metal-impeller model and not leaking and was installed 2 years ago so not much mileage on it, so figured let's do the thermostat. I had a new Gates 80* thermostat in the cabinet. To get to the housing, the fat 3-row radiator has to come out. So drained all my new coolant into a big bucket for re-use and disconnected the hoses and took the radiator out (good opportunity to spray out all the dirt anyhow. 

Also noticed for some reason there was an 88* thermostat in there (I thought it was an 80), which is the stock temperature one. So the 80 is better anyhow. Put it all back together, did another vacuum bleed and ran it at idle for a while  at 2500 rpms unitl I finally saw the thermostat open (showing 195 on the temp gauge). Lower hose warmed up as well and I saw the coolant level drop so yeah, thermostat is working. 

Then just to double check I flipped on the big electric fan and watched the temp fall to about 185 quickly. So pretty clear getting circulation through the engine, since the sensor is in the head. Off for a test drive.

After 10-15 minutes of tooling around the neighborhood  the temp was still holding at 185-190, which is pretty low since I'm used to this car running around 205 just in leisurely driving. Then took it out on the parkway and did a number of high-load, high-rpm runs up and down for about 10 minutes. 

Held steady at 180-185 the entire time. Which is, again, REALLY strange to see on this car. I guess the old thermostat has been either too high temp or sticking the entire time. The fact that it's a cool day and I'm running distilled + water wetter probably helped out too. So we'll see how it plays out in competition (2 weeks from now there's a rallyspint/test day followed by a rallycross so that should be a good opportunity to test it all), but the fact that it's running 15+ degrees cooler than what I usually see on the gauge is certainly encouraging. 

Side note: new transmission feels good, shifts well, and is far less noisy than the G240 that came out. WIth the shorter overall ratio (even with the 3.73 diff in now) the car fells substantially quicker accelerating, so that's as expected.


docwyte PowerDork
4/18/22 9:46 a.m.

Congrats!  I got the Air Lift vacuum coolant tool but I like the fitting on that Mishimoto one better.  apparently there's also a tool that comes with several caps that directly screw onto the coolant reservoirs too...

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
4/18/22 10:02 a.m.

In reply to docwyte :

Yeah the one with the screw on caps also can pressure test the system since the screw caps will keep it from flying out of the reservoir cap under pressure lol. MisMoto has one of those as well But it was about twice the cost and I figured out just try this first.

FooBag (Forum Supporter)
FooBag (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand Reader
4/18/22 2:52 p.m.
irish44j (Forum Supporter) said:

Eric's winning ride....running on some strange snow tires, surprisingly, which none of us has used before but apparently grip really well...

Details on these tires? laugh

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
4/18/22 5:48 p.m.

In reply to FooBag (Forum Supporter) :

You would have to ask him. I have no interest in rallycrossing on snow tires so I didn't really pay much attention. That said Panthera is not like other venues. No grass. Some days I think street tires would be faster than rally tires.

In addition, once this place warms up those snow tires will get shredded quickly Because it will be hard packed dirt and gravel. It was a pretty cool day that day. I doubt they will be running those during the summer.

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
4/24/22 8:16 p.m.

Today I swung up into Maryland to meet up with Jim to pick up a trailer at Chris's place. Then we headed to Stephen'sto drop off the trailer. Stephen has a MASSIVE garage complex behind his suburban house. How he managed to buy a small house with a giant shop behind it is amazing...

You can see their rallycross e30 there

And teh chumpcar e30 there..

I took the Porsche, which as always is a joy to drive on the highway at high speeds (aside from the 20-minute traffic jam from an accident). Happy to report the A/C still blows cold 4 years after charging it using mostly the original system (just a new compressor)....because it was summer-like today.

Back to the rally car. So for years I carried a HF lightweight floor jack on stage, but that's heavy and bulky. Then we switched to a Subaru scissor jack with a big base welded on, which turned out to not work well at ALL at STPR last year when the suspension collapsed. And, I hate scissor jacks in general. Decided to go back to the OEM e30 Bilstein arm-style jack with the hand crank. These are pretty good jacks and Prodrive used them for years on their Subarus even long after they stopped running e30s (modified, of course). 

To make it useful for rally and soft surfaces, I welded on a bottom plate to distribute the base pressure. Just an old roll cage backing plate of some sort that I have a few of sitting around

I created some "traction" on the bottom with the welder

So the factory mount bracket won't work with the base on it (and it's long gone from the car anyhow). I could just lash it down on top of the spare tire but wanted something a bit more thoughtful. So pulled out a second rollcage plate and some angle iron and made this. Note also the hole with a weldnut in it, extruded out on purpose.

after some mocking up, welded it to the lower rear cage bars like so:

then drilled a hole in the base of the jack

So basically you just turn the jack sideways, put the lower part of the base into the lower slot, and a single bolt secures it into place

The bolt (painted green) has a 19mm nut welded below the 17mm head, so it can be taken off with either a 17mm or 19mm socket (the impact for our lug nuts on the rally car is 19mm, so can basically zap this off quick with the impact before jacking up the car if we get a flat. I may also make a stud with a knob on top so it can be done by hand. Need to figure out how I want to do that, but this should work for the time being.

There's a rallysprint test day this weekend followed by a rallycross, so hopefully that will go well with all the new drivetrain stuff. I did notice a drip from the front of my 3.73 diff in the car now. hopefully that's just brecause I overfilled it a bit and it's sitting on a hill, so the resting fluid level is a bit above the seal flange (which it normally would not be when filled to the correct level and on level ground). If not, I'll pull the diff and put a new seal in. 




irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/3/22 11:03 p.m.


Rallysprint Practice Day and Rallycross #2 (WDCR)

Last weekend we got together at Panthera in W.Va. for a test day for our future rallysprints at the venue. We've been rallycrossing there for several years now and it's a great place with awesome views, elevation changes, and high speeds (for rallycross), and now we're going to have rallysprints there, using the entire 2-mile course (which has no trees, but some serious rollover potential).

I don't generally like test days (or as I call them "break stuff for no reason days"). But in this case, it was worthwhile since I have a whole new drivetrain (minus the engine) and a revamped cooling system, so wanted to see how those held up.

The day broke really nice, perfect temps and no rain and we did a bunch of morning runs. Jim couldn't make it so I generally ran solo and just worked on my driving and watching how the new stuff did, but Sara Nonack jumped in for a couple runs to read notes (incidentally, my fastest runs). 

The car felt good and I really like the new transmission ratios, which keep the car in the powerband better on this course, though I was using mid-upper 3rd at the open speeds (as opposed to the rallycross course, where speeds are lower). I did have to get used to the 3-2 downshift with the new DSSR, which required a double-clutch in most cases (but no grinding like the old G240 would have on those shifts). In any case, pretty happy with the new setup and didn't have any unexpected issues. 

Saw some stage rally friends there...

Additionally I was happy to see that water temps never went over about 205 all day, even after hard 200-second runs mostly wide-open throttle. Then they'd return down to about 190 after cooldown. At the beginning of the day I did notice water on my parking spot in the paddock but I just hadn't tightened the upper radiator hose enough and snugged it up. It's a major relief to not have to worry about overheating issues for once.

Midway though the afternoon runs I noticed that during the runs my tach seemed to be doing wacky things and my shift light was flashing for no apparent reason. After I pulled back in I noticed all of my gauges were dead (including the tach), the windows wouldn't work, and when I turned the car off and went to turn it back on, no juice to the starter button. Hmm. After several of use wigged wires and stuff it sseems there's some kind of loose connection down near the firewall pass-through of the wiring harness (of course, the hardest place in the car to get to wiring). I'm not sure if it's a plug or a intermittently-broken wire. The windows, gauges, and starter all are on different circuits from the fuse box, so I suspect it's one of the OEM plastic multi-plugs losing connection. Studying my wiring diagrams, though, it doesn't *seem* that they all go through the same connector(s), but who knows. This car is a franken-mess of old and new wiring. In the short-term I'm just gonna run some dedicated wires for the starter button and windows (the gauges aren't urgent), but at some point soon I think it's time to buy a fuse box and rewire as much as possible and thin out all the old wiring mess under the dash TBD. In any case, I ziptied the harness up in a particular position and that seemed to "keep the connection" of everything for the rallycross the next day, further seemingly indicating a loose plug or corroded contacts. Will take a look soon.

Also got my Super Champio stickers from Chris :)

We went to town and got a huge 3x3-foot pizza...

..and then camped out at the venue Saturday night and did some car-camping along with about 15 other people.

Nick was there with the M3, Eric and Neil in their M20 e30, and most of the other usuals, minus Stephen and Chris H. Had a few newbies show up as well with some vintage German equipment

Also Mike P. with his new-to-him e30 (formerly owned by Dan and by Jason), but Mike dropped an M54 into it. Great, more fast dudes in our class...

Sunday, weather rolled in with a hard morning rain as soon as we got into grid for the morning session.

While we delayed, Josh S tried to head back to paddock to get some air for his tires and promptly got stuck on a hill, lol....

After about 20 minutes, we took off for a scout run around the course since this venue dries out and tacks up pretty fast. Conditions were MUD over fluffy dry stuff, making it interesting. A lot of teh 2WD stock-class cars had issues. Nick's M3 couldnt' get up the hill when SHawn's Miata got stuck ahead of him, and it was mess. I managed to get it around, with gravels tires on the fronts and Maxsports in the back.

Nick quickly swapped off his gravels for Maxsports.....

We got running, it was slick but I really enjoy this kind of conditions as I tend generally do well when it's slippy. The car did fine all morning, and at the end of four runs I was sitting in 2nd ahead of Nick and BEHIND Josh S. (told you!), even though he was on some old ratty Maxsports.  Plenty of red flags for stuck cars in the stock classes (mostly),  And that was it. We switched heats to try to get th eother group (mostly AWD cars) running and they got 2 runs in before downpour came and the day was called. On the way home got an email saying no points would be awarded, which is a major bummer for me (and Josh S) since I feel like I have and advantage at the slick events but have a tough time winning at the dry events these days. So that sucks, but what can you do.....

Loaded up in a pouring rain and did hit a self-serve carwash on the way hojme to get 20 lbs of mud (but not all of it) off the car rather than carry it home to my driveway.

All in all a good weekend, though I really prefer competition (win or lose) to "testing," especially with my limited rally budget. 

Stavison New Reader
5/10/22 12:51 p.m.

Man I sure am missing running with the DC region now that I moved to Tennessee... love seeing your posts so I get to keep up with how it's going. Hopefully soon I'll get my car put back together and see what the East TN region is like!

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