Sunday, October 10, 2010

Got up early on Sunday morning to a rainy day, so my plans of riding the bike or RX-7 to Zama using Fuji's beautiful Skyline toll roads via Odawara were shelved and I took our workhorse & race support car instead.

In the meantime Russ (Rextreme) had taken a 2 hour ride on the train from Chiba and met me at Zama station on the way.
As we opened their front door we could smell Alex & Morgana was already making a big traditional American breakfast, right down to pancakes, syrup & fresh orange juice, so we sat down and enjoyed a proper start to the day with friends!

At the workshop whilst Alex got on with some work on his GT-R, Russ and I got stuck in. He'd already hand cut the smaller replacement stickers at home, but needed to make a template with tracing paper of the driver's side, to then cut a mirror image for the passenger side.

In the meantime, I got on with assembling the new fuel drums with fittings obtained elsewhere. Yoshi, a friend and competitor had done us proud - not only supplying details of where to buy the drums but also fittings and correctly sized hose.
Using some old hose clips I'd kept as spares - I assembled each.

The hose actually fits tightly into the filler cap, so I'm hoping the breather in the tank will do it's job, but I may try to find some copper fittings and add a small solid nozzle for each hose end, on race day.
I stamped numbers for each nozzle & can - that way we can easily tell which to assemble together - and have the plastic hose curling directly forwards when assembled.

Russ' job was going to take him about 4 hours, so I wanted to avoid working under the car till last. I fitted 3 small magnets on a new bracket side by side to hold the fuel cap shut instead of just one. Feels stronger now of course.

As Russ was finishing, I lifted the front, put it on stands and took off the front pipe off the bottom of the manifold.
The flexible section was sheared in two, with only the mesh holding it together.

I cut it out and ground away excess diameter, till I had a tight fit on each end& welded a new flexible section to one end. Checked the fit and marked where to weld next then finished on the other end. Removed the damaged heat proofing and ended up irritating the skin on my arms. I'd forgotten how nasty that stuff was!

The Ebay cat replacement pipe we'd bought for a Prelude BB6 has incorrectly sized flanges on, so I could fit it. Why do so many sellers there not even bother to sell goods fit for purpose! I want to see if we can find a better replacement in Japan.
The intake now sounds great, but the exhaust's still too quiet!

Checked the subframe bolts, all OK. Lowered the car and tidied up the interior. Found that 2 wheels can slide into the back from the boot's access hole - with fuel cans in the back too. So we only need to have one wheel on the passenger side.

Russ had to leave early to get back to Chiba, whilst we finishing off welding the front pipe.

Whilst waiting for Alex to finish on his car, I did a small bit of waxing. I'll probably take my porter cable to the track and give it a quick buff to remove all the rubber markings on race morning.

Here's the original driver's side:

Russ had slightly changed the design of the passenger side, to try and avoid using small stickers which may be damaged from fuel spillages. He also made up some white sheets for us to stick our race numbers on & even made a little TGR Keyring!

Big thanks to Russ (Rextreme) for coming out and helping us on a Sunday!

Now our race Prelude's all ready to go. Just needs fuel and someone to drive it to Ebisu & back.

Beautiful weather today. Hoping it'll stay like that for a week so we can have a dry race on Saturday!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Race Preparation 3rd October 2010

On Saturday morning I bought and collected all the bits I thought Sumi, Alex & I might need for fitting a dry battery, induction kit, cold air partition and a magnetic fuel lid release to our Prelude. These included aluminium and steel brackets, since we'd need to re-mount the oil filter block and the magnets of course.
I'd be adapting an unwanted Blitz induction kit to fit our Prelude - originally made to fit a Subaru Legacy...

In the meantime other parts had arrived: New (spare) driveshafts, 2 new Dunlop Z1 Starspec front tyres, Odyssey dry battery, cat replacement pipe, oil, etc.

Last Thursday evening Bodyshop-K had delivered the Prelude back to Alex's with the rear quarter and door repaired. I'd told them only to do the quarter as we have a spare door... Hopefully they won't charge for doing the door too and keep to the 50,000 Yen estimate Toshi Kun had quoted me over the phone... They did a perfect job!

Hoping our man Russ will be able to come over next Sunday (10th Oct) to replace the missing graphics, replace the proteeth stickers and tidy up the vents around the bonnet!

Sunday morning we met at Alex's and loaded up the Hiace with all the stuff we'd need and headed out to the workshop. The Prelude's exhaust leak's getting bigger!

Sumi & Alex switched the left rear tyre with a good used one that had survived mostly intact from the previous 6 hour race & switched the front tyres for new.
Sumi also inspected the brakes and bled the fluid.

In the meantime, I first got on with figuring out how to re-mount the oil filter block, using some brackets bought from my local home centre.
Wanting to keep weight as low as possible, I mounted the battery flat (being a Gel battery it can be mounted in any orientation). I cut the original screw hooks and re-threaded them, so we could re-use the original battery's positioning clamp.
For the air filter, I cut off a section of the original air box's lid and screwed into the Blit'z copper inserts. Air gaps were plugged with self adhesive foam.
As we're no longer using the air vents on the side of the bumper, I routed some spare ducting tube to the bottom of the air cleaner.
I hadn't been able to find any corrugated plastic suitable for making a partition, so I made a template out of cardboard first, then with the use of a jigsaw used that to cut an exact sized carbon fibre partition. The result fitted perfectly. Just need to plug a small gap with foam between the air intake tube and suspension turret & we'll have a much larger volume air box with total seperation from the rest of the hot engine bay.

Sumi undertook the task of fitting a small handle and magnet to the fuel lid. No more shouting to each other to release the fuel cap and risk losing valuable pit time!

Alex & Sumi finished by changing the oil (Castrol RS 10W50 under 3,000 Yen per 4 litres!), whilst I measured the leaking flexible tubing on the exhaust. A new replacement will be arriving shortly...

I checked the driveshafts for wear. They seem OK. We'd ran out of time, anyways - but I don't think they need changing... We will need to send back the OLD ones Simon has at his place, but in the meantime, the new ones can stay in their boxes as spares. Driveshafts are a known weak link on Hondas with tight LSD's..
Maybe we'll add more initial torque when we upgrade the final drive for the next season and change the driveshafts then whilst we're at it.

In the meantime, this morning 3 x 20L drums have arrived. I'll drop these off at Alex's and we'll fit the fittings bought for them. Now we'll have the best available fuel cans for faster pit stops.

Next Sunday, the plan is to complete the following:

(1). Assemble these new fuel cans & fittings and replace the old (Slower) ones.
(2). Fit an additional magnet to the fuel lid (We found the current solution's only just strong enough).
(3). Check front subframe bolts (For some reason they came loose twice before).
(4). Cut out old flexible section of the front pipe on exhaust and weld in replacement.
(5). Fit catalyst replacement pipe.
(6). Replace missing decals where the repair's been carried out (May be worth changing the design near the fuel cap, since spilt fuel made the decals unstick directly below, previously), tidy up the decals on the bonnet and replace missing decals on the rear bumper.
(7). Clean & polish the car, ready for the race on 16th August.

Hoping to have a better turnout from some of the other team members on 10th October, so we can complete the work quickly.