It’s been quite a while since my last post. Super Am rounds 4 and 5 came and went.
Before round 4 I did some work to the car to try and find out what was making it idle so shitty. I pulled the injectors to check for leaks while holding pressure. Wouldn’t you know it, one of them was leaking. On top of that, as you can see in the following pics, it had been leaking bad. You can see the black spot on the head/valve cover by the first cyclinder injector. The first individual injector pic is of the leaky one and the second one shows what it should look like when it doesn’t leak.
Luckily I had a spare rail, so I pulled an injector from that one, and replaced this bad one. Pressure tested again and no more leak. Cleaned up the dirt while I was in there and bolted it all back together. While there wasn’t a huge difference in performance, it was just one more thing that I could rest assured about.
While I was measuring around in my engine bay, I realized that the hole where the resonator box usually goes was completely open. KAs are interesting cars. Small leaks can cause huge problems, so just in case I decided to close it up and see if that would do the trick. While it was a duct tape job, it will hold up fine. Below you can see the before and after pics.
Wouldn’t you know it, taping up that hole did the trick. The awkward stuttering on a cold start finally went away and the car was finally running right. Next on agenda was to fix the problem with the radiator shroud, but that had to be put on the back burner. After using a few different trailer methods, I finally found a place in San Leandro that suited me well (cheap) and was really close to my house. It was a no brainer. The guy takes pride in his trailers and even though they aren’t new anymore, they still look brand spankin’ new.
One more thing that I decided to add was my newly acquired Apex’i AFC Neo which is like a piggy back controller for my Fuel/Air map. I set it to bypass for now, but later when I go turbo it will help to fine tune the car. At this point it’s just a really fancy vitals meter.
The trailer still sits pretty tall, but I figured out a way to onload my car by myself without even having to use that car’s power. I’ll show how in a bit. I guess now it’s just time to discuss how the following rounds of Super Am went. Enjoy!
In Round 4, I was able to drive it kitted at the event which made the car look awesome. I drove really well that day and everything was going smooth until my radiator cap decided that it couldn’t hold pressure anymore. After one run I noticed that for some reason there was smoke coming from the engine bay. I decided to look and found no culprit. I tightened down the hose clamps which seemed loose and decided that I’d just continue drifting. Next time around I come into the pits and the same thing happens. This time I wasn’t so fortunate. I decided to check the cap by tightening it some more. Unfortunately for me, this cap was garbage and had no stop, so I ended up twisting it off so that a streaming flow of hot coolant and water could come and hit me smack in the face. I pulled the quick reflex move and managed to keep my clothes dry. While I sat there, face drenched mouth tasting awful, I had become depressed. This car has been nothing but problems. I bucked up and got to wrenching. I decided that the fan shroud I had picked up at around 11pm the night before, to keep this thing cooling right, would be a good addition to the work I would be doing. After fixing the cap so that it could screw on and stay in place just long enough, I filled the radiator back up, installed the fan shroud and put her back together. The car ran fine once again. Amazingly I didn’t need to re-bleed the system. I go out for a run, and to my dismay all my work had gone to shit. The shroud being the garbage it was and still sitting too close to my fan had contacted the fan and destroyed the clutch. While the car was still on the fan was just stick in place being held by the shroud. I decided not to care anymore and drove the car as-is while watching temps. Back to the competition, I had been doing great in practice all morning so I was pretty much a shoe-in to get a seat in round 5 at this pace. In order to save the car from overheating, before each judged run, I would wait until it was my turn and my buddies would push start my car so that I could make my two runs one after the other and then let the car cool down. Just as in previous rounds, my cool that had been with me all morning and kept me calm, was gone. I started to get anxious, nervous and I couldn’t focus. I just kept telling myself how I couldn’t fail. That obviously didn’t help. I did poorly in top 16 and spun AFTER the finish in one run which gave me a 0 (I had not known at the time that spinning after a run would result in such a score). Nonetheless, my day was over once again. On the brighter side of things, There were so few unseeded drivers at this event that no matter what the result was, I had received a place in round 5 just for showing up.Fortunately for me, all my efforts had not gone to waste. After running a little bit more after watching the competition, and getting to drive my friend, Lamar’s turbo FC, I was ready to go home. Gio and I packed up and headed back.
Before Round 5, I made it a point of mine to fix that damn radiator shroud problem. Rather than make something work, I took the single cam shroud I had and decided to modify it. I cut a good amount of it off, including the garbage plastic support mounts and test fitted it. It had barely enough room to get into it’s spot but missed hitting the fan shroud by a hair. I made custom brackets out of steel and riveted them on.
Once the shroud was taken care of I didn’t want to take any chance on the fan hitting again as I knew first hand that a hair was just not enough room. I took it upon myself to modify my radiator support next. I figured that I was going to cut it out later since I’ll be going full tube front so it didn’t bother me much. ‘
And finally the end result. Everything fits in there perfectly, just like factory should.
A few goodies had come in during this time too. First off, my Greddy EGT gauge and Fuel Pressure Gauge. At this point I have all Greddy 52mm White faced gauges for Boost, Water Temp, Exhaust Temp, Oil Pressure, and Fuel Pressure. My Innovate LC=1 wideband would be the only odd one out with the Apex’i AFC Neo and AVC-R (which I would get later) rounding up the bunch. So as far as monitoring and adjustments, I should be good to go.
Next item of business was to add the 5 point harness that I had purchased. It’s a corbeau model that is SFI certified. Got a good deal on it and I was getting tired of the fact that my stock auto seat belt wasn’t working. Plus, taking that whole unit out was a good weight savings.
Just for a little added flash, my girlfriend and I colored out the Brand name and Model on all the tires that would be going on the car. Gave it that race car look and she had fun doing it, so I was happy.
Remember how I told you I’d show how I got my car on the trailer. Well, here it is. Just put the trailer up against my sloped driveway and let gravity do it’s work. No need to worry about the car being too low.
For Round 5, I had decided that being kitted and flashy was not as important as getting better. Plus, having to mess around with the kit all day was just a buzz kill. In every pic of the car, some part of the kit was dragging. Needless to say, I dawned the OEM front bumper again and left the kit at home in the garage. I had fixed all of my cooling issues and had made custom brackets while also shaving down the single cam shroud I still had. This combination fit perfectly in front of the beastly KA and had no interference problems whatsoever, plus the mounts made it sit firm in place. I bled the cooling system for ever the night before the event just to make sure. After loading the car up and giving her a quick wash at midnight, I went to bed and waited for the next day, The Final Round. After unloading the car, at the track and warming her up, she was running great. No problems were in sight and it was turning out to be a nice day. I had some good practice runs until I hit the wall going backwards. Luckily nothing bad happened to the car. Nothing looked bent except for the exhaust which had been pulverized. I didn’t want to even attempt to fix it since I wanted to focus on competition, so it just hung semi on the ground for the rest of the day.
I tandemed a lot during practice, especially with Alveen. I’d be heading off against him in Top 16 so I wanted to make sure I understood his driving style. Competition came again. Our battle was fierce actually. We both had good runs. After my first lead run, I was told that I was in good and all I needed was a good follow run. Alveen loves to take the outside of a turn and while I may do the same, our entries are very different. This would ultimately lead to my disappointment while chasing him. On my first follow run, at the last turn I cut in too tight and had to straighten out in order to avoid hitting Alveen. A one more time was called and again I was having problems following him. My lead runs were perfectly fine as I was hitting my marks. At the last sweeper on my final follow run, Alveen would become the victor. I had transitioned later than I should, throwing off my line and making me correct too late, making me spin out right in front of his friends who all just stood there jumping up and down as I watched facing that wall. Worst let down of the century. I was mad as hell. Drove straight back to the pits and threw my gloves off. Alveen did a great job and it was his consistency that day that gave him a good edge. He ended up going to fourth place which makes me feel better I guess. Again, the end of my day had come and so had the end of the competition. Nothing tangible to show for my efforts, but a whole lot of experience. I went from slow conservative entries at the beginning of the Super Am series to fast “super gangster” ones by the end. It made me more comfortable as a driver and I learned what I had in me all along. I figured out what makes me tick on the track and I know what to do when competition comes my way from now on. It was just one step for me to take and now the real fun will begin. ProAm is the next step, so we’ll see how I do there.
Since school and work have had me busy, the track car has just been sitting idly in my driveway, just waiting. By the end of Round 5, one of my belts was squealing a lot and since I didn’t want to worry about anything other than my driving, I just didn’t care. Once I had time, I decided that I’d take a look. I found out that it was the alternator belt and the tensioner bolt was completely gone. It must have vibrated itself out of the assembly, which is strange since it is so long. I managed to find another one in some spare parts I had and put it back together, tightening it down as good as I could. The next order of business was the exhaust. Since I have no welder, I decided to just tuck it up under the car as good as I could. I used the wire Alveen had so kindly given me and it sits pretty firm now. The can is dented so bad I really don’t know what is going to happen to it, but this week when I get the bash bar done at TredSpeed, they will be attending to the exhaust. In the mean time, I’ve decided to keep the VS-SDs and go forward with my plan of re-barreling. The 12s currently sit in my garage in pieces. There will be a post to update those later. I have also been pushing off my turbo build long enough and have sent out my injectors to be cleaned, calibrated and flow tested at RC engineering who will then send them to JWT where the injectors will meet my ECU once again so that they can provide figures for a good tune. Once I get those back, it’s just a matter of putting everything on my car and wiring in the injector plugs and Tomei Z32 maf plug.
I also was able to get a ton of nice stock parts from my friend Lamar as well as a working gauge cluster, so those should be going in as well. I’m hoping to take out my carpet, sound deadening, heater core, blower motor, all air vents and components so that I can maximize weight loss and minimize complexity inside the cabin. I still have a long road ahead of me and I just got my first real engineering job, so next quarter looks like a busy one for me. Wish me luck in Pro Am, in life and with this car, because I need it.