Destination SSM One Miata's Journey through Hell

23Jul/15Off

BOE and Packwood

From the evening the car was dropped off at BOE, I started getting texts from Phil making fun of my engine bay for being hastily assembled and not very clean. He got right to work tearing things apart and found several issues out of the gate: the bypass valve wasn't fully closing, boost was leaking out of the injector holes (the spacers weren't the right size), and the car definitely wasn't making the power it was supposed to on his dyno.

BOE dynoIt took several weeks of diagnosing to come up with the conclusion that it was actually a bad set of cams from their supplier (BOE built the motor in the car) -- swapping in stock cams gained 30hp over the cams that were in there, and another set of the same cams was up almost 50hp over where it was at. On Phil's dyno, the car is around ~363rwhp now, having come in with around 300. The muffler setup that I keep on the car is very quiet to make sure that I stay safely noise-legal at 92dB sites (Pitt Meadows and Qualcomm, notably), as well as just for reducing insanity during daily driving. However, it's also robbing ~10-15rwhp according to m my and Phil's tests. I don't know if it's possible to make something that's just as quiet, still fits in the exhaust area of the bay, and makes any more power, but I'm open to suggestions...

IMG_3972While working on diagnosing the power issues, we agreed on a number of reliability upgrades to the engine bay and improvements to the cooling. In the end, the engine bay is incredibly more work-on-able, with much better cooling flow for the water-to-air intercooler radiator system (and a bigger radiator up front). It's pretty much a work of art in there now, far too pretty for my having been involved in it. I'll try to keep it as shiny as I can in there, Phil...

IMG_3942Getting the car home from BOE in time for the Packwood events turned into a surprisingly eventful week. I contracted out with one company who had a truck lined up to take the car, and on the pickup day, the truck no-showed and canceled all their orders without any reason. The company tried to find me a replacement, but 3 days passed and no word had come, so I found another company who picked it up the next day for a larger fee. I hate car transport -- any time I deal with it, it turns into a mess. At least the car got back to me, and a day ahead of schedule, with no damage. I'm still fighting with the first company to get my deposit back...

11695946_879423348761931_7764187561163499862_nA few days after this debacle, we tromped down to Packwood for the Packwood NT (champ tour?.. whatever, it's an NT.) The car immediately felt better out of the gate on the practice course -- much better throttle linearity and response, Phil did great work with the tune, above and beyond the power. A lot of the power was picked up at the top end, but even the midrange was more usable because of the tune improvements. The car was just a little faster everywhere. It proved itself out the next day, as well, taking top PAX for the first day. Both days, I laid down a decent first run, then coned away a several tenths improvement, and then blew my last run. It was good enough for first in class by 0.663, 6th overall in PAX, with Duke coning all runs on day 1, so his day 2 blitz wasn't enough to win (but would have been without the day 1 cone).

I only have video from day 2, since I forgot to charge the GoPro the first day. Whoops.

The Prosolo got a little more exiting, for a variety of reasons. Walking course on Friday, it looked like a mega torque/power course and I figured I was completely hosed against Eric Hyman's GTR. I had a good friend's wedding that weekend that I was skipping because the event was important, but I contemplated heading up anyway after taking morning runs if I was going to be super behind. I also went to fire up the car to take practice starts to learn that the car didn't want to start, with a low battery. Perplexed, we jump started it, ran it for a good half hour, did some practice starts, let it idle for a while longer, then turned it off. When I went to start it a couple hours later to go weigh, it was dead again. The battery was acting fine, so we assumed the alternator was having issues. Eric Hyman had a fancy charging unit so we plugged it in outside their RV for the night. It took several hours of charging at 4.5A before it topped out again, but then ran fine the rest of the weekend. So the alternator's getting a rebuild shortly here...

10647099_870600852026_2737258448898875847_nFortunately, I managed to be way in first after morning runs. For afternoon runs, Eric extracted his head from its hidey-hole and we had a crazy battle of swapping back and forth for the lead by a tenth or two every run. Immediately after I finished my afternoon runs, Russell went out for his runs and the studs all sheared off the right rear wheel on his first run, leading the car to, fortunately, safely skid to a stop on 3 wheels. The video's pretty amusing, I'm not gonna lie. Fortunately, damage was shockingly minimal and we managed to get a replacement combination of wheel bolts and wheel studs from Jay Zelazo and Ryan Johnson and were up and running in full form again for Sunday's competition. I managed to eke out a little bit of time, just enough to keep ahead of Eric for the win by 0.039, and also good enough for my first overall top PAX for a national event!

Left side video
Right side video

I unpacked the truck/trailer that evening and plonked the car in the garage, too tired to do anything about the gathering stack of todos. Tonight (Thursday), Russell came over and we tore both clams off the car and stripped them down to get them ready for painting. The mismatched clams and some new carbon fiber panels go in for paint on Monday, and in a few weeks the whole car will actually match instead of being a Frankenkar. We tore the alternator out as well so I can get that rebuilt next week.

Other jobs on the list while the car's being painted:
* Tearing all the shocks out and sending them back to Fred @ BWR to get them lengthened a bit -- with the drop spindles, the shocks have almost no droop left since they think they're at stock ride height (or higher).
* Installing all new studs and getting hubcentric adapters made for the wheels, to hopefully alleviate the whole "wheel leaving the car" problem.
* Replace the crushed ebrake cable (didn't like having 1/3 of the weight of the car dragging to a stop on it for some reason).
* Install SS brake lines while the clams are off. Hopefully get a little more stiffness into the brake pedal.
* Replace the inner heims on my rear toe links -- they're starting to get a little play already, so we're upgrading them to higher quality heims.

Posted by David de Regt

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