I Probably Won’t Make It To 86 After All

July 19th, 2014

whitedeathWhich is just as well, as I don’t own one anymore. The newly insulated barn isn’t copying with moisture very well at all. If that doesn’t kill me though, welding cheap chinese galvanized body panels onto rusty cars might…. or just as likely the wife will if I keep spending so much time on failing car ventures.

The sad thing is that I seem willing to accept all of it…

Choose Your Own Failure

July 4th, 2014

csccevent3-001CSCC Solo 2 Event #3 featured a slalom that could be entered from either side… and while this is not an uncommon feature of local auto-x courses, this was a rare case where it was a question as to which side was faster. Debate raged, and while most of the experienced drivers arrived at a consensus, they ALL got beat at the end of the day, by someone who chose the opposite way.

I as well, sided with the more experienced solo 2 drivers… but lost to Andrew who saw things differently. Looking at the map above, the area in question is highlighted in orange.

We’re Actually Driving… Sort Of…

June 30th, 2014

My Stolen Hotlinked Image Not Working?Not driving that well… but I at least am starting to remember the rewards of auto-x. Andrew and I have driven at three events so far this year, which is more than either of us have in the last 5 years combined.

The car is not really prepped for any class, but we have found challenge competing with each other… and now having some understanding of our pace, have even set our sites on a few who frequent events, and who in theory at least, we should be able to mix it up with. The car itself drives beautifully and is now quite forgiving with more sporting suspension and tires… For the first time ever, it might not actually change in any respect for a few months.

Summer Mode 1.0

June 20th, 2014

gda-summermodeHmmm… Subaru’s look best when they have a practical ride height. This seems too low to me… although maybe that’s just the extra 30mm of rubber shaving off my paint. Easton fender roller may have to rescue me again…
Andrew and I auto-x again this weekend…

Tsukushi Found Some LV At The Thrift Store

June 16th, 2014

OhlinsYah that says Ohlins. Not the fancy ones of course… but those 5″ diameter STI springs were an aesthetic nuisance, and the stock ride height was totally vibe killing.

Spring rates are 7kg/mm up front and 5kg/mm in back, which is pretty standard spec for this car. Camber plates let me find that extra degree of front camber I was looking for though, and adjustable damping might help me get the car behaving more like it should, or at least give me an easy way to sabotage Andrew’s runs, as he doesn’t fall for the “heh it’s your last run, don’t spin!” trick that I always seem to.

Garage Hack Aero PT3

June 13th, 2014

gda-splitterThis chunk of wood got a lot of compliments, until people found out that it was wood. Truthfully, I felt just fine about it, until I had to tell people what it was: birch plywood. A mature individual recently approached me about buying the WRX. His words to me were something like, “I like what you’ve done with the car a lot, but that plywood under tray… what were you thinking?”

I corrected him immediately. “Birch plywood.”

“Fine, birch plywood,” he said, “it’s still just wood, I would have used arena board or something else, just not wood.”

And then I was so offended that the agreement we had come to had to be terminated. Ha. Not really… but I do still have my car.

The truth is that birch plywood is hands down the best budget material you can make a splitter out of. UHMW plastic (”arena board” in this case), is strong as hell and easy to work with, but in order to get the stiffness required you need a whole lot of thickness, and that turns into a whole lot of weight.

ABS plastic, gets used for underbody aero in a lot of exotic places (check that Ferrari in your neighbours garage), but it’s not a great material for a splitter itself. It is a lot stiffer than UHMW, but doesn’t offer any of UHMW’s impact resistance. It is quite cheap, but again, to get real stiffness you’re going to want a 1/2″ sheet or more… and that gets quite heavy.

Aluminum might be the next best thing. But the most commonly available 1/8″ plate doesn’t provide adequate stiffness for a real splitter, and 1/4″ or 3/8″ plate is pricey enough that you might as well stop hacking and make yourself something proper.

gda-splitter2Hence the wood. I’ve been using 1/2″ thickness until now, and properly fastened to the car, it is stiff enough that I can put around 100lbs on the leading edge with minimal deflection. It is also relatively light. Searching around will reveal that a lot of guys have produced ABS or aluminum splitters that weigh 15-20lbs. Mine, which goes from 3″ past the lip all the way to the front axle on a long nose car, is only 14lbs. It is however, not all well and good as you can see.

On the AE86 I ran a splitter of similar construction, and it survived a couple hard years of auto-x, backroad attacking and driveway ramp smashing. This is the third splitter I’ve had on the WRX in less than a year. Snowbanks killed the first two, as I expect that they should, but this one was actually smashed by a pylon. Something new and improved is in order.

I’m going to make a new one out of balsa wood.

If cost was no object I’d make one, or have one made, out of carbon kevlar with a nomex honeycomb core. That would cost me in the neighbourhood of $1500. It also wouldn’t be garage hack, and would clash with my welded diff. Balsa, is natures honeycomb, and fibreglass is the retired grandfather of carbon kevlar. With limited experience using composites, I decided not to waste my money on something cooler than fibreglass (it’s almost 1/10th the cost of carbon kevlar). If all goes well, maybe I reinforce with an outer layer of the expensive stuff… if the added protection against cones that kevlar or carbon kevlar gives isn’t worth it, then at least I can tell people that it’s made out of something that Car & Driver thinks is sexy.

No new car. New shoes.

May 17th, 2014

SuperlativeDishWell this update was going to wait until I had appropriately sized tires… but it’s past boring in here, and the tires are a couple weeks away at least. Andrew felt so bad about beating me at auto-x two weeks ago, that he decided to buy me some Toyo R1R’s in 235/40 17 so that I can try for revenge another time.

The Continental DRS’s that I have mounted on the Watanabe’s, are certainly squirmy and soft. They are not up to auto-x. They were entertaining, but tricky. The Toyo’s should give a lot better feel, and make the car a helluva lot faster. My winter car, at autox FWIW was actually pretty fun. You may recall that I autox’ed the WRX once last year, and said that I’d never do it again. The first event of 2014 though, was entirely different. Chalk it up to a lot of extra speed (i.e. not first gear!), and Andrew supplying a measuring stick. I even spun.

Spun? Yah… in a whole winter of driving on the lake I never spun once (my car at least), but 7 minutes on an airport runway and I go backwards. The car is not the monster of understeer that it is supposed to be…