The Ted Race Team: Because Racecar

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by Ted, Dec 18, 2020.

  1. mondtster

    mondtster En-Route

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    12A housings are still NLA. There is at least one place experimenting with rechroming housings, and there are at least a couple of places that are cutting down 13B housings to make them work with a 12A. The chroming service doesn't seem terribly expensive, but the new, cut down housings aren't cheap.

    Parts availability/cost is the main reason I am an advocate of preserving the parts one has, and one should be actively searching for replacements if they're going to mount a serious race effort.
     
  2. ChemGuy

    ChemGuy Cleared for Takeoff

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    Rechroming should be doable...but the final machining isnt something a lot of people can do. I know it took Mazda a long time to get the machining on the housings good/accurate/repeatable so thats a big problem with rotaries vs pistons.

    IT7 out west was great class but its hard to compete now with SM on cost, and too some more importantly, the racing. Ive been in races with 1-3 competitors and its no fun. Here in S Michigan the local SCCA regions seem to have 10-20 SM cars for each race. Thats very appealing to me so everyone can dice it up.
     
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  3. FormerHangie

    FormerHangie En-Route

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    I doubt there are any regions still running !T7, but IT7 was always a subset of ITA, and a 12A RX7 is still classed in ITA, and that is where in SCCA that car would be placed. It should be reasonably competitive in that class provided it is well prepped.

    +1 on the Spec Miata. If I were going back to racing it would either be in a Spec Miata or a Spec Racer Ford gen 3. Come to think of it, I'd go with the Spec Racer. The car is more expensive to buy but would probably be a little less expensive to operate, and provided you didn't wad it up into a ball, you'd get your money back when you sold it.
     
  4. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    To be clear, I haven’t decided which class I want to run it in. First thing is get it driving and do some open track days to get the hang of things. In that mix we’ll figure out where to run it, but currently TBD.
     
  5. Half Fast

    Half Fast Final Approach

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    Beware of making any changes to the car until you know what organization and class you'll enter. You really don't want to do something that may turn out to be illegal for the class and very difficult to reverse. Rulebooks are typically written in a positive fashion; that is, they tell you what you are allowed to do, and anything else is off limits. Wrenching before knowing the rules can be a big mistake.

    Look at competitors' cars and talk with a few of the builders. Learn from their mistakes. Trying to make all the mistakes on your own leads to ruin. Also, there are lots and LOTS of little tricks and tweaks that you won't learn from a rulebook. Some may sound inconsequential, but racing is a game of narow margins and small gains. Taking off just a tenth of a second per lap means two seconds over a 20 lap race, and two seconds is a large margin of victory.
     
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  6. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    Yes, the plan is completely to not modify it at this point and just get it going to start. Then we can work on improving it as appropriate (if appropriate) for the class, once chosen. :)
     
  7. Half Fast

    Half Fast Final Approach

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    @Ted


    Making noise? Any zoom-zoom yet? :)
     
  8. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    @Half Fast unfortunately the RX-7 is still sitting on the trailer, untouched other than when I pulled the carb off. The plan has remained to have the friends who want to participate in racing it with me come out and we'll spend a weekend getting it running. That was going to be this past weekend, but then I had the brilliant idea to get a hernia. I had surgery last Thursday to repair it (turns out I had twin hernais - an ironic surprise to nobody who knows me), and I figured 48 hours after surgery was a bad time to resume wrenching. At the very least, the doctor said not to and my body seemed to concur.

    Unfortunately this is making me question what I'll manage to get done this season after all, since once summer starts things tend to blur. Life has been getting in the way of important things like racing!

    At least the Cobra having achieved first start means that there is an end in sight to that project - or at least, the goal of getting it driveable so I can put some miles on it is closing in. I still would like to just get the RX-7 banged out and running/driving one weekend so I can take it to track nights, though. So I need to start coordinating that with my friends, assuming they're still up for it.
     
  9. Half Fast

    Half Fast Final Approach

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    Wow! Sorry about your hernia, but glad they got it fixed. Probably caused by lifting too many dog crates..... ;)

    Completely understand about life getting in the way. That gets a little better once the kids move out and you retire from your job, but not much. Trust me. I’m busier now than when I was employed.
     
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  10. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    I remember thinking, especially during the early days of Cloud Nine, that I was going to give myself a hernia and/or kill my back with the crates. Apparently I was right. ;)

    Really what I need to do is retire and just spend time in my garage working on cars. I guess I should win the lottery first so I can do that. Anyone have a winning PowerBall ticket they can let me borrow?
     
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  11. Half Fast

    Half Fast Final Approach

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    Long odds against a lottery win. Maybe you could marry a rich pilot instead..... :D
     
  12. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    The problem is my wife and I both had the same idea, and found out it didn't work as intended. ;)
     
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  13. GaryM

    GaryM Pattern Altitude

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    Eh, PowerBall is easy.

    Calculated to 8 significant figures, the odds of winning the PowerBall are the same, whether you buy a ticket.

    Or don't.
     
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  14. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach

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    [​IMG]
     
  15. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    ECCE7FE3-0982-438F-86D1-8657DD98FABA.jpeg

    Took me damn well long enough, but @Half Fast will be happy to see the new and improved location of the RX7. :)
     
  16. Half Fast

    Half Fast Final Approach

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    Excellent! Hope she’s making racy car noise again soon!
     
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  17. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    First order of business is making the engine make noise. After that I should probably take care of some things like brakes before attempting to drive it. :)
     
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  18. Spring Ford

    Spring Ford Line Up and Wait

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    There would be more room to work if you closed the slide out on the RV.
     
  19. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You need a bigger barn.
     
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  20. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    Really I need another barn.
     
  21. Half Fast

    Half Fast Final Approach

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    No, you need a race shop.
     
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  22. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    I managed to play around a bit with the RX-7 yesterday. I don't think it will take much to get it running. After putting a fresh battery in I was able to confirm that all of the electrical worked fine. First order of business was draining the tank. I'd removed the carb, and so I just started off by turning on the fuel pump and letting it run until all the old fuel came out. Other than smelling bad and the first belch looking ugly, it wasn't as bad as I expected. Fresh fuel put in and flushed through the system, and started cleaning things out. It needs a good cleaning more than anything. Clutch still appears to work just fine.

    After barring the engine over by hand to make sure nothing seemed stuck (it didn't), I sprayed some starting fluid in and then cranked it over to see if it would attempt to fire. Yes! It made some noise! The engine seems fine. Then put new spark plugs in.

    The fuel hoses are, not surprisingly, toast. So I need to get some new hose to put on. Also need new radiator hoses, at least the lower one since I cut that to get the water out of it so the engine bock wouldn't freeze/crack. I think I'm going to attempt making the car run with the carb as-is before rebuilding it. If nothing else, everything appears to move freely on it, and maybe that will get it running well enough for me to just get a general health condition of the engine. Oh, and fresh oil - that's a must.

    Before an attempt at driving it I'll need to get the brakes working as well. The master cylinder seems to work, but the calipers were seized up and so the pads needed to get removed before I hauled it up north.
     
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  23. Half Fast

    Half Fast Final Approach

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    :cheers: :happydance:
     
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  24. Half Fast

    Half Fast Final Approach

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    My engine builder did a few tricks to that carb that I don’t really remember so you might see how well it works before rebuilding it. I recall one hack was to use a very soft spring on the secondaries so it pops open immediately with just a little throttle. Obviously, all the pollution control crap has been removed and that’s why you see rubber caps over some tubes.

    I always used Castrol 20w50. I liked dino oil since the engine burns it. Somebody tested a bunch of oil filters and the Mobil-1 won out. I like it since it has a pressure bypass.

    You may need to play with the fuel pressure regulator in line with the carb. The carb likes low pressure; too high will overpower the floats and flood it. You’ll feel it stutter in a corner and think it’s being fuel starved when the truth is it’s getting too much.
     
  25. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    As complicated as this carb is (and the fact that it's been messed with), I agree that the thing to do is just try it as-is. Plus not knowing what race/class/etc. it will go in makes doing higher effort items at this point a bit silly, first just get it running/driving and see what I can make work as-is. I'll play with the pressure regulator. It looked like you had the return blocked off?
     
  26. Half Fast

    Half Fast Final Approach

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    Yes but I don’t recall why.
     
  27. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    I'll just assume it was for good reason and keep it that way. :)
     
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  28. jsstevens

    jsstevens Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    And this another superstition is born.

    I say that with 0 judgement. I’ve done it plenty of times.
     
  29. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    My first goal is to get it running. Then I can try to make it better. :)

    Of course I know that @Half Fast had it very well tweaked, so "better" will more than anything be dependent on the rules for the particular series I end up racing in.
     
  30. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    Spent some more time with the car running yesterday. I even moved it under its own power. All gears seem to work well, clutch works well.

    The carb definitely needs work. The forward secondary jet isn't spraying fuel, it seemed that the high idle was caused by the secondaries being suck open a bit, but when I fixed that the thing was running very rich at idle. So I think I probably do need to rebuild the thing, or at least go through it somewhat, but I know that it overall works somewhat. I may look at it more off of the car before opening it up to just see what it needs.

    Now I'm making a list of stuff to do to it. New cooling hoses for sure, and the seized brake calipers need some work done to them to see if I can get them freed up. The right front wheel bearing is a bit loose so I'll need to tighten that up, otherwise the front suspension seems safe. The shocks may be dead and needing replacement, we'll see.

    Tires - they're old, so I am probably going to need to find some new ones. I'm inclined to just get new ones of the same size that's on it. Upgrading from 13" wheels to 15" and lower profile tires might improve handling, but would add a lot to the cost.

    Assuming that the SCCA folks will let it in, I'm going to try to make the Track Night in America in a few weeks if I can get it driving safely.
     
  31. Half Fast

    Half Fast Final Approach

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    Know the rules before you blow money on wheels. And know what tires you plan to race on and their available sizes.

    We had to stay on stock wheel diameter but could use any width wheel and tire that stayed inside the fender well. Inspectors would pour water down the fender and if it ran onto the top tread of the tire you were busted.
     
  32. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    I remember you telling me that, which is why I'm thinking that I'm best off - at least for now - sticking with the same tires and sizes you have on there. It's unlikely that it would be more restrictive than you had for anything I ran. And looking at the rabbit hole of wheel, tire, and brake upgrades... it probably makes the most sense to just leave everything as you had it and just freshen it up.

    I am starting to work on attempted pinpointing of how/where I'll be racing it. If they'll let me in to the non-competition track nights, I think that's fun and just good practice. Beyond that, I think we are largely targeting Lemons, and that gives us some more options for what to do so long as it's cheap.
     
  33. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    SCCA said that I can't run the RX-7 at the track night in America, more or less "because it might break." I don't think that's a very good argument, but it's their event. They suggested a a test and tune track day, which I guess I need to look into more to see what's available for that. Just as well, that way I'm not rushing to try to get it ready for a track day and gives me more time to get it working right.
     
  34. Half Fast

    Half Fast Final Approach

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    ?????!!!!!

    Weird. Any car “might break.” So what?

    But a test day is probably a better idea anyway. Be advised, though - the test days I attended required that the driver hold a competition license and the car had to be in annual. Might be different there.
     
  35. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    Yeah, I really thought it was more of a snobby response than anything. And maybe that means that Lemons is really the "league" that this car will work best for at this point.

    Good tip on the test days. If that's a requirement, then that might make it harder as well. I'll look into it further, and keep on working on improving the car.
     
  36. G-Man

    G-Man Line Up and Wait

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    Random recollections from my Rx-7 racing time:
    1. Cars were quite subject to vapor lock, even while running. I could run pump gas early in the season but once it got hot, I ran avgas. (See? Aviation content!)
    At least, I always thought it was vapor lock but the earlier comments about fuel pressure are interesting.
    2. Presuming this is not a GSL-SE, it has a very uncommon bolt pattern and finding them is a pain. I don't recall there being a class-legal or affordable option. You may end up looking for old wheels from when they were popular hot street cars or going with circle track wheels (mostly stamped steel inners and low-cost but heavy).
    3. Changing rotors is a pain - it's not a new style rotor and the whole hub is part of the rotor. Look for them cheap on RockAuto and places like that - remember scoring some for $6 each and buying enough to hit free shipping - UPS guy was mad.
    When I started racing, I was changing them every three weekends. By the end, I was going through front rotors in two-three days. The really fast folks changed them every day or two! IIRC, you change the inner and outer wheel bearing at the same time.
    Don't worry - you'll get good at it!

    And, yeah, the Track Night ruling was strange. It's one thing to fail tech and have them say 'fix this, this, and this,' but a blanket ban is odd.
     
  37. Half Fast

    Half Fast Final Approach

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    Never had vapor lock problems, but fuel pressure being too high was a common malady in our group. Everyone went to Carter low pressure / high volume pumps, and we all ran regulators ahead of the carbs. You may have lost some HP with avgas; the Wankels are low compression and like low octane.

    It started life as a GSL, non-SE. 4-wheel disc brakes. The doors were replaced with non-GSL doors, though, as doors with manual cranks were lighter than the GSL doors.

    At least back when I was racing, wheels were pretty easy to get. Diamond made lightweight racing wheels and that's what I was running so now Ted has them. Panasport alloy wheels were also available and were a little lighter, but very pricey and easily damaged. You're right about circle track wheels. There was some company that advertised to the dirt-track market but their wheels were pretty heavy. Stamped steel rim and they'd weld a heavy center into it that had any bolt pattern you wanted.

    Yep, integral rotor and hub. Change the bearings whenever you change the rotors. Goes easily after you've done it a time or two. The trick was to cut away a small part of the backing plate that mounted the caliper so you could get a wrench in there (and Ted's has that mod).

    I found that country of origin made a big difference in the rotors, even when they were the same brand. Rotors from Japan or the US worked fine; rotors from Italy would crack in a single track session, at least at Sebring which is very hard on brakes. We discovered that temp cycling the rotors in an oven's cleaning cycle seemed to help; probably did a little stress relief. Just put the rotors in, set the oven to clean overnight, take them out in the morning. Best to do it after the wife has gone to bed and then get up before her in the morning.... :)

    The brakes get REALLY hot on a brake-intensive track like Sebring, so I always used fresh fluid (Motul motorcycle stuff, as I recall) every weekend and bled the brakes regularly.

    SCCA has a bit of a clique-ish atmosphere, and some officials are drunk on power. Might be better once Ted becomes a member and gets to know a few folks.

    When I was building the car, before I turned the first wrench I called up our SCCA regional tech inspector and talked with him about the car and my plans. He gave me some recommendations, including a few shops for things like the roll cage, and I pretty much followed what he told me. Naturally it breezed through inspection, when competitors kept getting sent back to the garage. ;)
     
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  38. jrcox19

    jrcox19 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Unfortunately it's unlikely to work for the track night events. I've run events in a couple different regions and they all seem to stick pretty firmly to the rule that track nights are for street legal cars only. It'd be hard to sneak this one past them on that rule.
     
  39. FormerHangie

    FormerHangie En-Route

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    Track Night is not really set up for cars that might need a tow in. The schedule is tight, and they really want all the participants to get your hour's worth of driving. Having cars break and need a tow in isn't part of the schedule like it is on a race weekend, so I can see where they're coming from. If that RX-7 has been inop for a number of years, a test day would be a great way of getting it going again. In any of these events you need to roll off the trailer pretty much ready to go. My personal rule was that the only thing you should have to do at the track to be ready for the first session are wheel torque and air pressure.

    Where you are, I suspect you're running out of season at this point of the year.

    I crewed and drove SCCA events for 20 years, only ever had an issue with tech once. At the time, there was a Showroom Stock class, and I had a head clearance problem. Not the cylinder head, my head, and it was up too high. We had all recently gotten new spec helmets which had thicker padding and many of us had the tops of our helmets at the top of the rollbar. Turns out the solution was to remove some of the padding from the seat, but the inspectors couldn't tell me that since that was against the rules, which were no mods of any kind. Eventually word got back to the comp board that this had become and issue and removing seat padding was an approved mod.

    There was something on the Jack Track page on Track Night that they would consider granting a waiver for certain race cars, particularly for new drivers. I wonder if they had some issues with race cars and decided to do away with that.
     
  40. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    That was what I was going off of, the saying that you could apply for a waiver to run a racecar. "Jack" (I doubt that's his real name ;) ) asked for pictures and then declined because it might break. The eMail was a bit longer than that but that was the summary.

    It's sort of frustrating but on the whole, not a bad thing. I've got a lot of other stuff to work on in the next couple of weeks. This was the last "track night" of the year, so maybe next year when I have the car more sorted after this winter I can try again.