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Chris_Heideman
Chris_Heideman New Reader
7/26/23 6:15 p.m.

Well, it has been quite a busy past month, and I figure it is about time to update this thread. Over the past month I have competed in the CRX in both the Peru, and Chicago SCCA Solo Tour's, and have trophied at both, my first national trophies! I also went to the Time Trial National Tour at Gingerman this past weekend and was able to pull out the Touring 5 win by a little under 2 seconds. However, with the car being run so much, it is not without difficulties, granted, the main issues has not been that serious.

I have had strange starting issues with the car, and after this past weekend on track the car would misfire right when it was started up, and the headlights would flicker on and off. It seemed like a poor connection somewhere in the wiring, and was not surprised to find that was the issue. The power for the car was spliced to the 12 volt power to the starter, and the connections were quite poor.

This was the wiring pulled out of the car. I then got a separate cable that runs straight from the battery to the starter, and have the main power for the rest of the car going straight to the battery as well, and that seemed to cure the strange electrical issues.

 

In addition, while preparing for this upcoming weekend's SCCA Solo Finger lakes tour, I noticed that all of the bolts for the lower side of the intake manifold support bracket were missing. So I used some of our miata spare fasteners to put it back together.

How I found the bracket with the car in the air. (Ignore the oil everywhere, I did a sloppy job cleaning up after an oil change)

 

Finally, some upgrades have been put onto the car. I am currently planning on running Solo Nationals with a co driver. My co driver has been an EF chassis guru for years, so he had some go fast parts lying around. We decided to put a Willwood brake kit on the car, as it cuts around 12 pounds of unsprung mass from the car.

Everything the kit included

Weight of the factory brakes with Hawk ER-1 pads. (per corner)

Weight of the Willwood kit (per side)

Some safety wire practice, I ended up re-doing this rotor after the photo was taken.

The whole kit on the car.

 

After putting the brake kit on the car, I put the car on some random wheels we had lying around while I got a fresh set of tires mounted on my 6UL's, however, once I went to put the 6UL's back on the car, they did not fit over the rotors. I was praying I would not have to switch back to the factory brakes two days before I left for the event, and was able to find some 5mm 4 x 100 spacers, and that seemed to remedy the problem.

I put tape on the outside of the fenders, and then promptly went to an empty parking lot near by and cornered as hard as I could in an attempt to see if there would be fitment issues with the tires and fenders. It seemed as if there was no issue, however I do plan on bringing a fender roller, and the factory brakes to Finger Lakes this weekend just in case.

Chris_Heideman
Chris_Heideman New Reader
9/10/23 9:47 p.m.

Well, with Solo Nationals coming and going this past week, I figure it's appropriate to update this thread. The main goal with this car was to have something that was already almost all of the way there in regards to prep, in an attempt to trophy at Solo Nationals. Well, I am pleased to say that I was able to trophy this year at Nationals. 

 

A couple weeks before nationals there was a misfire that needed addressing, which was cured by cleaning various grounds on the car, and it also needed a clutch. The clutch that came out of it had lots of life left on it, however it was clear that it had been overheated. It started to slip really badly off launches and between the 1-2 shift right after the start of an autocross course. Although it probably only had ~2000 miles on it, due to all of the abuse from constant launches and a couple track days it decided to let go.

Photo of the clutch that came out of the car.

 

Nationals this year was quite an experience. This was the first time that I found I had the mental game right for it. I just did my runs, and tried not to think about results too much (although constantly looking at them after every car finished), and it worked. After day 1 I was in 8th place in STS, and was able to secure 6th after day 2. My fast runs can be found below from both courses.

East Course

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9oRbENFMeks

West Course

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZzndKQrDTw

Chris_Heideman
Chris_Heideman New Reader
11/10/23 11:15 a.m.

Well the off season has come, and with that comes necessary repairs due to how often this car was run this year. 

 

I attended SCCA Time Trials Nationals this year, and did quite well. I ended up taking home the Touring 5 win, with a fast lap at NCM of 2:26.4. The weekend following Time Trials Nationals, I decided to go to a local track cross. Once the track cross was over, and I was loading the car back into the trailer, I noticed a pretty sizable crack in the right side of the spare tire well.

Seeing the ground from the truck is not uncommon for those of us from the rust belt, but this didn't seem quite right...

 

From what research I have done, it seems as if it is not too rare for an EF chassis that has been abused over a long period of time to rip out the spot welds on rear subframe, and it appears that is what happened. I was lucky enough for it to not get bad enough where it was affecting the rear suspension geometry, as the car drove normally on the last run at the track cross, so it looks like there will be some hammering and welding in my near future. I presume that what really put the car over the limit was Time Trial Nationals, as I was definitely hitting the curbs pretty hard, which resulted in some pretty cool pictures of the car up on two wheels, but probably not the best in a mechanical sympathy sense...

In the photo above, you can see that the rear subframe is slightly separated from the unibody, which is what caused that large crack in the trunk of the car. 

 

Below is a link to my fast lap from Time Trials Nationals. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6orC8xe__GU

greasemonkeyreborne_5x1gs
greasemonkeyreborne_5x1gs New Reader
11/10/23 7:23 p.m.

Good catch!   And in the off season.  

Chris_Heideman
Chris_Heideman New Reader
11/27/23 9:43 a.m.

Well, it seems as if Thanksgiving is when this car see's the most actual fabrication after last year's rust repair. On this year's Thanksgiving - Heideman edition we put the rear subframe back in the car, and welded up all of the cracks that formed in the unibody. 

The first thing we did was wire wheel the areas that we knew would need addressing, the photos of this can be found below.

Above is the cracking that was found in the trunk of the car

This photo shows how much the rear subframe moved, it was around 1/8" to 1/4" on the passenger side of the car, however it was still fully attached on the driver side.


This is just another photo of the cracking in the body but from under the car.

 

Once we cleaned up the damage, the next trick was to figure out how to get the subframe to move back into place. We thought that by putting the car on the hoist, and putting a lot of weight in the trunk, and then resting the right side of the rear subframe on a jackstand would be able to concentrate the force in the trunk enough to move it back into place. 

 

This method seemed to work quite well. We had two 75 lb wheel weights for a John Deere tractor, as well as two 3ish gallon buckets full of sand, and then the weight of me in the trunk and it slipped right back to where it should be. 

This is all the junk that we put in the trunk

Above shows how we concentrated the force to move it back into place.

 

Once we got the subframe back into the right spot, we put a tack weld where one of the old spot welds that broke, and then went around and finish welded where all the spot welds were, grinded them down, and put a rubberized undercoating over it. 

Above shows the rear subframe after doing the procedure that was outlined above. 

 

This photo shows how it was looking once finished, although it looks really rough, that is due to the undercoat that was put over to weather seal the area. 

 

The  cracks in the unibody were quite tricky to weld, this is becasue it was such thin steel. The fitment of the top was not too tricky, as it all moved back into place once the rear subframe was put back up to the unibody. 

The cracks in the trunk once welded up

The cracking in the trunk once hitting it with a little bit of gloss black spray paint.

jfryjfry
jfryjfry UltraDork
11/27/23 12:43 p.m.

Why didn't you weld around all the subframe where it meets the body vs just the spot welds?

or maybe you did and I can't tell!

Chris_Heideman
Chris_Heideman New Reader
11/27/23 12:54 p.m.

In reply to jfryjfry :

I would have if the car wasn't going to keep running in the STS SCCA Autocross class. By stitch welding the rear subframe back into the car it would technically be bumped into a modified class, so the plan is if it breaks again just to weld it back up again!

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