Friday, July 31, 2009

Ok I think the roll cage is almost fully installed...

Miguel and Alex hadn't quite finished on Friday, but almost... nice job guys!

As most people tuning in are probably here to see our heroes in action - without further ado, the photos from Friday:

Thursday, July 30, 2009


We can benefit a lot from a product like traqmate. Tom has been using one for a while. Check out Tom's bog for what it can do. We will be able to do some instruction and analysis of on track performance easily and quickly with video and in car information.

Check out TRAQMATE ...

First small one is done... black part took longer than I thought. next are the big ones. Much easier.


Last Design Chop.

I guess we will end up pretty close to this. Bonnet vent may require some slight repositioning of the main logo.
Door number last year included an ADVAN logo and a relatively small number. Nothing for the bonnet.
But I think we are all go for cut and application. I'll be buying the rest of the vinyl in the next couple of days.
BTW, I'll be cutting some small logos for helmets.
Mine will have some red stripes for this event.


Regulation Stickers

A conversation about tow hooks had Tom, Aki and I thinking it would be a good idea to have these.
Blue Triangles and E are printed. (may fade over time)
Red Tow is cut no problem..

Ready for application.

Small Colour Revisions

Ok guys,

I just did a small change to the front stripe, finishing the stripe without the droop. Also some other small but cost effective changes. I'm looking forward to making the templates and cutting them.

I chopped the white DC2 rims on to see the alternative colours.

Cool huh?


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Timing Belt - changed!

As I posted earlier, thanks to some amazing driving by Sumi-san we were able to get to Techno Pro Spirit in Saitama on Sunday, right before they closed.

We took the car to them to get the timing belt and water pump replaced. Not before showing us a genuine Honda F1 engine piston, though. Pretty cool, the stroke is what, 26mm! or something like that.

Sumi-san picked the car up on Thursday and delivered it to Alex. Thanks for taking a day off for this!

I wonder if the car runs better now...?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Driver List Stickers

Doors will be added with these labels for the 12 hour race. Red printed a bit dark but all is good.
As races are attended and drivers changed these can be printed with any inkjet. We have a couple more sheets left.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

World's Fastest Rollcage Install... and then to Techno Pro Spirit

So I woke up...late, sorry Alex. So I finally got to Zama at about 1200 noon, after walking around getting lost...

Anyway we finally got the car up to the autoshop - but not before Miguel called and said he was joining us (on his way back from Chiba)! Just as well, because we certainly would have been completely lost without him.

While waiting for Miguel to arrive, Alex and I hauled the rollcage up in the back of his wagon, and then I started unwrapping as Alex went to meet Miguel at the front gate. I had also purchased some anti-rust paint, which I used to spray paint the plates which would end up on the outside of the car.

When the boys arrived, we taped the rollcage together to see how it would look:

Pretty good! Duly encouraged, the guys proceeded to rip out most of the inside of back side of the car - I helped by being tool boy, clean up boy, drink boy... and this is how it looked when we were done.

We then set about trying to see if the rollcage would even fit...while we were pleasantly pleased with the solidity and mass of the Autopower rollcage, it certainly wasn't finished like Japanese ones... but no matter, we got to work:

I had to meet Sumi-san with the Prelude to take it to Techno Pro Spirit at 1545... so we were rushing. When we started seeing if the pieces would fit, it was already about 1430...would we finish in about an hour?

Well we didn't bolt it in, nor were we able to get the foam on the bars (it hadn't arrived at Alex's yet...) but we did get it in! Thanks to duct tape and tension, the cage fit quite nicely...

It was now 1610! So we rushed back to get to the front gate, where Sumi-san had been waiting for us patiently.

And we were off to Techno Pro Spirit!

We barely made it to them before they closed! Traffic was not good to us. But the guys at TPS were - Kumakura-san remarked that the Prelude's H22A was a great engine, but that unfortunately parts were hard to come by... he has an acquaintance at another shop who used to race one, apparently. He also asked about our tires - RE-01Rs, and the Dunlop Star Specs! Great choices both - he commented that the Star Specs would probably last for the entire race - except not to use them new as the blocks were prone to getting chucked off when new! So I guess we'd better get them on ASAP and do some driving!

Oh, and why were we at TPS? To get the timing belt changed! Thanks gentlemen for helping us!

Next week - once we get the car back, finish the rollcage!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Roll Cage has arrived!!

So Alex and I went to Narita airport to pick up the roll cage today.

First, we went to the shippers, and paid for the freight charge.

Then, we went to customs to make our declaration, and then pay the appropriate sales tax.

Finally, we went to the United Airlines freight terminal, and picked up the cage itself!

Whew! 66kgs!

Tomorrow, I meet with Alex at Camp Zama, and we will see how much of the cage we can install - we anticipate not being able to do much, but at the very least, will be able to get the foam padding on the bars, put some rust proofing on other parts, etc.

Plan is to take the car with Sumi-san to Techno Pro Spirits tomorrow and have them do the timing belt.

Sumi-san has also informed me that he has reserved lodging for most of the drivers (except Simon). Also, Miguel just gave me a new gas canister for the team.

Slowly, but surely...

Monday, July 20, 2009

Installing Parts, Part 4

So Alex and I did a few things on Sunday.

1) Installed the new bonnet pins/clamps. But, you get what you pay for. We had to enlarge the holes in the bonnet to make it fit.

2) Installed the radiator hose attachment to allow fitment of the water temp probe. And yes, Miguel, we made sure to fit the probe from the bottom.

3) Got creative with double sided tape and foam to install the gauge cluster, once I had used 3 different kinds of saws to reduce the profile and then a sanding machine to smooth it all out. Still not perfect, but it will have to do. Not sure if the double stick tape will hold, either, but alas, how else could I create some excitement in the cabin during the race? (but, the wiring is done tidily).

4) Unbolted rear seat so Alex can store at his shed.

5) Drilled hole in another oil washer bolt I picked up. Just in case.

6) Picked up two wiper blades. Car needs them. Also picked up the spare wheel nuts.

7) Inspected the headlight housing. I have ordered HIDs, they should work, although I have heard that the reflectors in the headlight housing creates too much glare. We shall see.

8) Took off the plastic sunshades on the doors. They were falling off, anyway. Now the car is SLEEKER!!

9) Replaced dry type air filter with K&N wet type filter. I swear, the car feels more responsive!! (and people on the Prelude forums claim 5 hp...)

To do:
a) Roll cage - I called this morning, should be on its way to Japan.
b) Mount/balance new tires to Honda rims.
c) Sticker the car
d) Timing belt change. Looking for a place that will do the work for less than others. I think I can pick up the parts for relatively cheap.
e) Oil filter change before race. Yep, the one on it now is really banged up. But went out and bought a cheap one anyway.

1) Still looking for more gas cans, and the dolly to cart them around.
2) How about some fold up tables/chairs?
3) Reserve lodging.
4) Pick up two 2.5kg (or more) capacity fire extinguishers (these are 3500 yen each at my local DIY home center)
5) Come up with a list of tools and spare parts we will be taking with us to the race.

I think that's it then...

Friday, July 17, 2009

Installing Parts, Part 3

So Miguel went to Camp Zama and, with the help of James and Alex, proceeded to continue work on the car.

Since I'm too lazy to be creative, I'm going to cut and paste his report to the group:

"Hi All,

Big thanks and acknowledgement to James Pearson who came all the way to Camp Zama to help us (He was there early this boy is keen!) and to Alex Labrador for tirelessly helping out. We wouldn't have the car in the prepared state it's now in without their help.

Together we finished fitting the oil cooler kit, which worked perfectly with no leaks, etc. right from the first turn of the key (After we cranked it over lots with the ignition leads all off so we could fill the cooler and build oil pressure first of course). So that's done.

Alex will be checking the bottom hoses (The only thing I forgot, I think) to make sure there's enough clearance with the cross member.

We also changed the front discs and fitted the pads simon sent to us. Note the brake hoses and Sumi's donated DOT 5.1 is also on.

We also lock wired the oil filler cap and the oil filter.

The gauges are all in and working too and we refitted the front bumper
permanently, incl. the front lip.


Miguel continues:

"I won't be able to come and help on any more weekends I'm afraid, but the hardest stuff is done. Here's a list of the tasks still left to do. Nos (1-15) are very easy to do, only (16) is time consuming...and may take 4-6 hours to do properly.

(1). Fit bonnet pins (Those which Aki's ordered have not arrived to date).

(2). Fit the top hose sensor adaptor (1/8 NPT - 32mm diameter).

(3). Cut / trim the gauge pod so it will fit flush in the dashboard and the gauges point in much the correct angle. I have left 2 types of double sided tape in the centre console. Aki, you might needs some thin right angle shaped metal pieces to stick the pod onto the dash with... You'll also need some tabs to secure the wire going from the Defi controller to the Gauges.

(4). Set the warning limits on the gauges. Oil pressure (0.8 Bar), Water
Temp (105 Deg C), Oil temp (115 Deg C).

(5). Shroud the oil cooler if possible with a funnel shape to scoop air - for maximum cooling - We're racing in middle of August, so it may be very HOT.

(6). Fit a new oil filter, since the recently fitted replacement is quite dented from being taken off and put back on several times whilst we've fitted the oil cooler - and had to take the car out / into base each night.

(7). Fit new tyres to the Honda wheels & balance.

(8). Increase preload on suspension, lower the car on each corner and set the damping to be harder. Would be nice to corner weigh and set, but maybe difficult to find such equipment... maybe next time. I've left an Ikeya Formula geometry setting kit in the trunk for now, which could be used to adjust geometry if Sumi would like to do this.

(9). Buy 19 Hex M12 x 1.25 wheel nuts (Chrome is fine). Autobacs close to Alex's house stocks these I think. And replace 4 locking wheel nuts.

(10). Remove trunk trim, rear parcel shelf, speakers, rear quarter trims and seats, original tools, spare wheel, etc. to lighten the rear. I've left 2 tools in the car to remove trim clips with... Need these back when you're finished, together with the cordless drill & Ikeya Formula geometry setting kit.

(11). Check timing belt for wear / condition.

(12). Replace brake pads with Endless N84M compound items after they arrive to Alex's house. Alex now knows how to replace these pads.

(13). Have another set of spare pads handy in case they're needed at the

(14). Have a set of drive shafts ready in case they're needed at the track

(15). Detail the car and fit stickers.

(16). Fit Cusco black foam to the cage (It's going to Alex's house soon - I've explained how to fit without cutting) and fit cage to the car. Lower harness mounts are already fitted. Upper mounts should be on the cage when it arrives - if not use eye bolts to fit to rear seat belt mounting points.

I think that covers it for now..."

So - how much will we get done??

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Installing Parts, Part 2

I wasn't able to join the boys on Sunday to help out, but of course they got along fine without me.

Today, they were able to temporarily mount the oil cooler:

Since I wasn't there to observe, I have no idea what Alex and Miguel are doing here (thanks to JP for the photos).

Looks like Alex is cutting the hose for the oil cooler?

In addition, they installed the oil temp and pressure gauges, and fixed a problem with the seat rail (too stiff, would not move). They also remounted one of the fans they took off yesterday so the Prelude will continue to have air conditioning!!

Work will be continued on Thursday (Alex and JP taking days off!) - to finish installing the oil cooler, and maybe replace the brake pads (thanks Simon!) and rotors.

This upcoming Sunday, I will join them to do the brakes if they haven't done so already, install new driveshafts (if they have arrived on time) at the same time, the water temp gauge I ordered, AND if I have some time, replace the lights with HIDs. (am thinking about having the headlights HID, and the foglights 4200K high capacity bulbs - have heard the wiring harness is pathetic). Meanwhile, I need to order some more parts...

Installing Parts, Part 1

After a morning which didn't quite turn out the way we wanted, we (Miguel and I) managed to get to Camp Zama, with our friends JP and Alex in tow.

Note: photos are thumbnails, please click for full pix.

As soon as possible, we got the car into the auto shop and began work.

While we let the engine cool, Alex and I decided to start tinkering with the race seat:

Here is the engine, before we began work on it:

We soon had the car up, and Miguel started working on switching out the steering wheel for a nice small racing one:

The plan was for us to change out the radiator and install the oil cooler, but it was then we realized we had no new oil and no new oil element. So, off to Autobacs Alex and I went. We also decided to bring the white DC2 wheels/tires too. About an hour and half later, we made it back, but forgot to bring the oil from his house (so we bought some from Tom Mangum, thanks!).

The bay next to us opened up, so we immediately switched over, and the guys started by taking off the front bumper, note the white DC2 wheels:

And draining some fluids:

Here is the new Thermodyne racing radiator, and covering half of it, a couple of oil cooler parts:

Car sure looks different, without the front bumper (and for some reason Miguel isn't smiling either):

Although we got some work done, because we got started late, we didn't finish - so off to Alex's place, to replace the standard steel hood (bonnet) for a nice lightweight FRP one:

to be continued on Sunday.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Second Drivers Meeting

Thanks to everyone who made it, including those who MAY join us in the future (Stuart and Hiroshi).

Topics covered:
Introductions, race and car history
Finances (the budget, expenses etc.)
Parts report

Tom then took the stage and described the whole process.

He drew a map of the circuit, and explained his experience in driving the course.

"So you want to make sure to check BEFORE getting into the car whether the car has ABS"

Oh.. what? Huh? Sleepy...

Russ though thought Tom was hilarious!

After this, we went upstairs and watched videos from on board cameras from last year's Civic team (with Sunako-san). Obviously, Sunako-san was very smooth and very fast, it was embarrassing to watch the rest of us (Tom, good sport for all the first time goofs!)