Destination SSM One Miata's Journey through Hell

12Sep/120

Wanna buy a fast car?

Posted by David de Regt

With several things going on in my life right now (not having much fun autocrossing the past few years, switching jobs, tired of being broke) I think the best move right now for me is to get rid of the car and get my life in order for a few years before trying autocross again.  I was hoping that the SSM experiment would bring the fun back into autocross for me, and while it did somewhat, it still isn't enough for me to justify how much money and time I'm spending on all these out of town events.  Maybe when I have enough money in the bank to not be scared anymore, and I've stopped doing so much side work that eats all my time and stress, I'll come back, but I think my best move right now is just to get my life in order.

As such, I'm putting the project up for sale as a whole right now to see if anyone bites, and if no one does, I'll start parting the car out.  I have something over 45k into the project, not including tires, repair parts, a ton of misc hardware, and probably a thousand hours of labor.  The car can win nationals right now as it sits with the right driver, and with a few simple mods can go even faster than that.  If you're interested in individual parts, feel free to shoot me an email as well -- if there's enough interest in the parts I may just go that route even sooner.  The detailed parts list is available both all over the Wiki, and also in the Expense Log.

Quick important bits list:

  • 1991 Chassis, 316k original miles
  • Dyno: 330rwhp, 258rwtq @ 19 psi peak, on 92 octane pump gas
  • Car weighs 2030 lbs dry, well short of its min weight of 2057 lbs
  • Built 1.87L 99 Miata Motor -- should be good to 9k RPMs, but I've been keeping it at 8k for longevity
  • 5-speed transmission case rebuilt with a Quaife custom gearset and all new Mazda parts.  Car does 49mph in 1st gear and 75mph in 2nd gear (GPS verified), and is built to survive twice the torque the car is making right now
  • RB Header with custom 3" stainless exhaust, runs at 92-94 dB at most sites, with a clamp on extra muffler and turndown for San Diego
  • Custom BEGi intake manifold with a Lysholm (Whipple) 1.6L twin screw supercharger with custom half-width intercooler setup for short charge pipes (incredibly quick throttle response)
  • Coolant reroute with custom half-width radiator -- in 100 degree heat at nationals the engine never got above 192 degrees during/after a run
  • Carbon Fiber hood (5 lbs), front fenders (1 lb each), and seats (6 lbs each!)
  • Custom splitter (now shorter than it used to be), removable for getting on and off a trailer
  • Ciro Designs/APR latest-generation rear twin-element wing
  • AEM PnP EMS, fully tuned for safe power and drivability, with Zt-3 wideband
  • RaceLogic adjustable traction control (includes launch control)
  • AIM Evo4 data acquisition system + MyChron3 dash, integrates with the AEM EMS to display and log all engine parameters, combined with internal GPS, accelerometer, and oil pressure
  • Flyin Miata little big brake kit (powerlite calipers with custom adapters) up front, SS lines on stock calipers in the rear, with Carbotech AX6 pads all around
  • 2004 Miata next-generation ABS unit retrofitted
  • FatCat Motorsports double-adjustable custom shortened-shaft coilovers, racing beat front bar, no rear bar
  • Rear upper control arms by EPMiata, all other control arms currently stock with Delrin inserts on all connecting joints to reduce play, with long wheel studs, and V8roadster ball joints
  • Deutchwerks 300LPH fuel pump (quiet) with 720cc Injector Dynamics injectors on a dual feed fuel rail -- upgrade to 1000cc injectors and jump to E85 for a nice power bump
  • Custom modified wiring harnesses to cleanly build in all modifications (speed density sensors, 2004 ABS unit, coil-on-plug, etc.)
  • Custom headlights to save 19 lbs off the front end (and still shine better than the stockers)
  • Full access to pick my brain for a long time
  • Comes with 15x9 6ULs with nearly new (1 pouring-wet event) H20s, and two sets of 15x10 6ULs with nearly new (one 20-run set, one 12-run set) Goodyears

I'm asking $35,000 for the car.  If you're interested in either the car or a set of parts, shoot me an email (akilla at akilla.net) or call me (206-276-0433).  Car is currently in Redmond, WA.  Happy to ship at buyer's expense.

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12Sep/120

Nationals

Posted by David de Regt

Nationals was an ... interesting experience this year.  I originally didn't want to go, due to being broke, not terribly into the sport right now, and knowing the car wasn't ready, but was convinced by my dad and some friends to make the trip.  So, out we went.

At the Pro Finale, the car wasn't handling terribly well, and was bogging miserably coming out of slow corners again.  We tweaked some suspension settings and that improved the handling situation a little bit, but we couldn't figure out what was up with the bogging.  So, I finished out the pro in 4th place, 1.2 out from the win overall.  There were a bunch of slow digs that the car couldn't get out of its own way for, so that time was easily there, especially if I could have landed a left side run (I was only 0.3 behind the winner on the right, 0.9 on the left.)  I was generally happy with the car's performance at this point.  It was obviously capable of running the times, especially if I could fix the slow corner problem.

So, we spent Monday driving around the streets of Lincoln with a laptop, working on trying to smooth out the AFRs on tip-in.  I fixed a bunch of stuff, which made the car feel like it drove much better, and so my dad (who didn't run the Pro) took practice runs on Tuesday, and ... after a couple runs got the same misfiring under tip-in as before.  This time, I pulled data from the AIM system and saw that with each run, our intake temps were jumping by ~20 degrees, culminating in 180 degrees during our practice last (and very misfirey) run.

That seemed likely to be the problem, so we drove all over Lincoln, bought a hole saw and some tubing parts, and cut a hole in the hood right over the supercharger, put a 90 degree bend on the inlet, and popped the filter through the hood.  We bought some more practice runs for Wednesday morning, spent more time on the street and really got the tip-in working pretty solidly, and then had no problems with heat or misfiring Wednesday.  The filter through the hood isn't the most attractive part of the car, but it's certainly doing the job.

Thursday came and the car was awesome -- handling's still a little quirky, but better than the Pro, but after the runs, I was in 2nd, only 0.4 off Carter, with 3rd several tenths more behind me.  Joy quickly turned to disgust, however.  We were immediately protested by Jake Namer for an illegal splitter, which was later upheld, and gave us a 1 second penalty on all of our runs.  We then lazily shaved off enough of the splitter to be a couple inches under the limit.  I was disgusted enough by the whole process that I just went back to the hotel and caught up on work all night instead of walking the other course, so for Friday runs I didn't really know my way around, and coned all 3 runs.   It was a long drive home, but at least by 2pm Friday we were on the road instead of having to go to the banquet, and, as such, got home at midnight Saturday night, so I got a full Sunday to unpack and unwind.

For reference, the splitter in question is pictured at the right.  The green photoshopped area is the legal area of an SSM splitter (which we are almost a square foot below.)  The little green penned area on the chopped off part (3/8" deep by a few inches wide) is the illegal area of the splitter, as determined by the protest committee.  When Bill and I built the splitter, we measured it in my garage to be 5" from the bumper (a full inch under the max rule), but somehow since April, our mounting mechanism has bent out to bring it over 6", and hence illegal.  Turns out that using sliding forks to locate the splitter isn't a great idea for autocross, since there's the maximum forward distance rule.  We were hoping it would help absorb cone hits, but that turns out to be less important than staying legal.  Oh well.  That's autocross.  Live and learn.

On the bright side, the car is very competitive, even in its primordial form right now.  0.4 off Carter is better than I ever would have hoped, and the data showed that there was a lot more time on top of that run.  So, it's proof that the SSM Miata concept is viable, which was the goal of this year.

 

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