Monday, November 15, 2010

A Return to Action

We had a big return to action on November 7th with Dad and myself driving the e12 at Wakefield Park in the final round of the BMWDCNSW Supersprint Championship. Wakefield Park surprised everyone with a beautiful day of 25 degrees with no rain (or snow, ice, etc). The practice session was very disappointing with the car understeering everywhere with both Dad or I at the wheel. An inspection after showed that the front tyres were work down to the canvas with a big flatspot on the passenger front. We quickly swapped out the rears for the front (even though they are the wrong size and rubbed on the springs!) and we were back in action. The "new" front tyres weren't much better, but at least we could get around the track.

The afternoon sessions started to heat up and times started to fall. We were down in the 1:20 - 1:22 range but the main competition was in the 1:21's. As the day wore on, the engine sounded less and less healthy. The GPS telemetry showed a dramatic drop off in acceleration compared to the previous round. It was the equivalent to having about 300 kg dumped in the boot (I know this because I went out with Dad in one session and the drop off from engine performance was about 3 times more than with my added 100 kg).

The time crept down in the final sessions and I managed to break into the 1:19's and Dad down into the 1:21's. Sadly, neither of us bettered our times from previous rounds. I'm putting this down to work tyres and low engine power. As a reality check, I previously did a 1:19.0 on road tyres prior to the new injection system. I'm convinced that once we get the engine tuned and new tyres, there will be an easy couple of seconds for the taking.

Over all and excellent day despite the troubles. I couldn't stop smiling all the way back to Sydney. We couldn't of done it without Matt and Mum who were out pit crew and changed transponders and numbers for us.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

E12 Getting Serious

While the Mustang has been getting prettied up with interior trim, the e12 has been getting more serious on the track front. A new roll cage has been installed to improve the safety department. There was much internal debate in Team Orange as to the best way forward for cage. My initial thoughts of a simple bolt in 4 point were in stark contrast to Dad's idea for a welded in full tower-to-tower cage! We ended up settling on a bolt in 6 point cage with harness bar and side intrusion bars. Looks fantastic and should do the job if the worst happens.

There were some fiddly issues such as the glove box not opening anymore, the rear window winders not being able to be turned and the sun visors not being able to be lowered. The rear windows are not a problem as they haven't been lowered in years. The sun visors are annoying, but a pair of sunglasses should fix that. The glove box was more of an issue. The latch for the bonnet is in there, so it has to be able to be opened. In the end, the glove box was just taken off. We'll work something out later.

Dad's biggest concern was that the extra weight would slow him down! Luckily, the new engine components were shipped last week, so the build can commence as soon as they arrive down under.
Interior Coming Together

The interior on the Mustang is starting to come together with some slow and patient work by the "Chief Mechanic" (me). Slowed down mainly by the poor workshop facilities (my bathroom) and the lazy and incompetent staff (me again), it's been a slow process. Luckily, the addition of the e46 has taken the pressure of the Mustang so things can stay apart for longer.

The first step was the completion of the interior panels. The paint on the trims and new arm rests made a huge difference for what was small change. The door trim panels themselves are still the old ones. I just gave them a bit of a clean and stuck them back in. Yes, they have a crack or two and all the chrome is gone, but they still look decent enough.

With the panels done, it was on to the steering wheel which I had previously prepared with a few coats of varnish. The wheel itself went in quite easily and looks awesome. The horn button is a piece of work though! The pieces they sent didn't seem to work and then the wheel itself came with a different electrical connector which was supposed to solve the problem. Don't get me wrong, the button makes the horn work fine; it just keeps the horn on continuously which can be a little annoying and distracting for other drivers! I think I have a work-around involving electrical insulation tape, some drilled out washers and a great deal of swearing.

Finally, the front seats. I purchased some new vinyl upholstery and after reading the instructions in the "trusty" Ford workshop manual, got to it. The work shop states (roughly) "Remove existing upholstery and install new upholstery with dog clips." Yes, that is what I did. It just neglected to mention the multi-layer install, removing securing wires and the amount of skin I lost on those bloody dog clips. The results were well worth it in the end and I no longer cut my rear just getting in on those old seats.

Still to come, headliner, front end suspension (can anyone say "Unsafe at any speed"?) and new tyres. Fun, fun, fun!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Another New Addition

Although we're hardly short of transport, we added another new member to the team. After a huge day of test-driving e46 325xi's, we found the only 330xi in the Salt Lake area. It was a good 40 minutes drive away, but he was the one we'd been looking for. We got a 2003 with 88,000 miles on the clock. He's got the usual stone chips and scratches for the age, but is solid underneath. It is going to be a huge difference compared to driving the Mustang!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Dad Fires at the Creek

The e12 made a fabulous re-appearance at Eastern Creek on Saturday with Dad taking the old girl out for a run at round 4 of the BMWDCNSW Supersprint championship. Although he started the day pretty conservatively, the times tumbled in the afternoon. With a best time of 2:08 only a few seconds off the e12's record at Eastern Creek, it was a fine show of form from both car and driver.

The end result was a third in class which puts Dad within 2 points of the Class B championship lead. With two rounds left and his times coming down rapidly at each event, chances of a strong podium or a win look very good.

Dad's son-in-law (otherwise known as Hak) kindly volunteered to flag marshall to meet Dad's commitment to the volunteer. He also managed to sneak in the photos and some cool videos. There's a top one at the link below
What a noise this thing makes!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

One Door Done

I managed to get the door trim and the arm rest on to the passenger side door. It was an absolute bugger of a job as one screw hole in the arm rest didn't line up with the actual foam of the arm rest. The screw kept going out of alignment. Bit of work with the round file and some oversize washers saw it get attached eventually.

Also got a couple of coats of varnish on to the new steering wheel. It is going to be way nicer than the crappy old split one and safer as it won't have the loose cover on it.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Starting to Shine

I managed to get a straight day at working on the interior of the Mustang. I had to go and work in the car park at work as I was sanding and painting. It was bloody hot, but at least I had good light and no other cars to worry about.

I finished off the passenger door and got some undercoat on that pretty easily. I ran into a bit of a problem with the top coat. I think I tried to go too thick too early. That left a big run which I'll have to get back to and touch up later. The driver's door went much easier. I went a lot lighter with the top coats and ended up with about light coats and nice finish,

While I was painting, I hit the rear side trims with some new paint and got them back in. It made a great difference. I also threw some paint on the rear parcel shelf which made things match up a bit. All up, the effect was really good. Just have to get the door trims back on to finish up that part of the car.
Finally, I got the driver's harness in as well. Some tweaks to the mounting design made a huge difference and I managed to get it installed with a minimum of swearing.

I was absolutely wrecked at the end of the day. It was 34 degrees and I was feeling light headed from dehydration on the way home. Not a good option driving a Mustang that likes to bump steer itself around its lane on the freeway!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Forward Progress

Finally, some forward progress on the Mustang last night. I managed to get one of the harnesses installed. It's not perfect by any means, but it's in and a lot safer than that single lap belt.

I also got some time to wire brush the passenger side door trim where it was all "rusty". Not sure if it was rust or 40 years of built up arm sweat (gross!) but it came off with a wire brush and wire wheel on the drill. There's a before and after shot below. All I have to do now is get some time on it to get the paint on.

Also got under the rear to check that leaky area in front of the axle. The good news is, it doesn't look like fuel. It is a red oily substance. Looks like transmission fluid to me, but I can't work out what it's doing way back there.

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Nasty Interior

Started work on the interior of the Mustang last night. A whole lot of boxes turned up with parts, so I thought it would be a good time to get cracking.

We've got trim parts, headliner, seat upholstery, paint and harnesses to put in. The harnesses are top priority for me as the old lap belts are just not safe enough. The headliner should go in first as all the trim around it will need to be removed to get it in. I don't really want to remove them twice!

Once I got into it, things got a little messy. The door trims came off OK but under the back seat was just a garbage tip! I think I'd better take it down to the car wash and use their industrial vacuum. I think our Dyson would explode if I tried to suck all that up with it.

I don't understand why, but Ford attached the door arm rests with two meaty hex head screws. Why not just a couple of little Phillips heads? Maybe that would make my life too easy.

I needed to get the door trims off so I can rub back the door panels and get some paint on to them. 40 years of arms resting on the window sill have removed the paint and replaced it with surface rust. Not bad, just going to be tedious.

I got all of it out in the end. Even the rear set belt mount where I'm going to mount the harnesses. Worryingly, while I was under there, I noticed what looks like a fuel leak. I'll have to get the professionals on to that one!

I'm going to install the harness on to the seat belt mounting point for the rear seat belt. It should work well. I just need to get a piece of angle and drill some holes in. Would be easy if I had a garage, work shop or even a drill!

The seat upholstery is going to be a tricky one too. It looks simple to cover the seats then clip them on, but I'm guessing this could turn into a fairly serious job.

I'm looking forward to the steering wheel getting here too. They sent me the mounting kit, but now wheel. That old plastic one is cracked as hell so they put a cover over it. The cover would be OK, except it's not tied on so the cover just slips over the wheel if you don't grip it tightly!

Friday, July 09, 2010

Collecting Engine Parts

I've started collecting the engine parts I'm going to need to build up our new track motor. So far, I have the new double valve springs, valve retainers and valves. The valves are 1 mm oversize, so should provide a bit better breathing ability.

I've also got new pistons, clutch, aluminium flywheel, camshaft and sump baffle on order. Should be about 5 weeks plus shipping to Australia from California. The pistons are custom 11.7:1 JE pistons designed to suit the cam, the e21 1.8i head and are 2 mm oversize. The cam is a Top End Performance grind with 316 degrees duration and 11.5 mm lift. I decided to go even bigger than the 304 to make the most of the other mods and to keep the current engine running by not having to take parts out to re-use. By the time we port and polish the head, the engine should breathe a lot better. We're looking for around 180-190 bhp which should give the e12 the power to weight similar to an e30 M3!

Monday, June 07, 2010

Expansion into American "Muscle"

Team Orange has expanded into American Muscle... well it looks like American Muscle, but it's only got the 6 cylinder. Dad decided he needed a Mustang and he found this one in Colorado for a steal. She needs a bit of work (failed the safety inspection mainly because of the brakes), but she is plenty cool.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The USA Adventure Begins

A big change has come across at Team Orange. We've moved to Salt Lake City in sunny Utah! It's been a big process and quite difficult. Perhaps the hardest part was leaving the e12 in Dad's shed. While I thought it would just sit there under the car cover, Dad has had her out twice to Wakefield Park. Couple of good runs although the first was wet and rainy. Second time out showed some big improvements and the times are getting competitive.

No opportunity to invest in a new e12 in the US of A yet. There are a couple for sale in California, but they are both too far away and too automatic. I'm waiting for that pristine 528i 5 speed to appear before I jump in. Oh yeah, it would be nice if they have already done a euro bumper conversion too!

Team Orange transport consists of the work Ford Explorer at the moment although Belinda has gotten into a nice little Mazda MX5. She's a great little goer (the MX5 that is) and I can't wait for summer to get the top down and hit some of those winding canyon roads.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Odd Tyre Discovery

In the process of packing up the e12 to be stored while I'm in the US, I removed the wheels to clean out all the rubbish. In doing so, I noticed a strange wear pattern on the fronts. They are worn about 2/3 of the at out to the outside of the car in a distinct "valley". I'm not sure how this came to be. Maybe it was too high air pressure? It also happens to be about the same point as the edge of contact due to the amount of camber we run. Intriguing!

While I was in the shed, I took the opportunity to pull the motor, gearbox and diff out of the old wrecks I had lying around. Dad's new hoist paid for itself the first day. It made life so much easier.

Final Run for the E12

As Bel and I are moving to the US early in 2010, the October round of the BMWDCNSW championship was the last round I would get to run in for quite some time. I decided to take the e12 out as it was a special day and I wanted my special car for this one!

There'd been some upgrades with a new camshaft installed (a Schrick 304) and I had hopes for big things. It had been quite a while since I'd been out, so the start was pretty slow. I began with 2:07 which was slower than last time I'd been there. Not looking so good for a car with (a little) more power (the camshaft was too big, so we had about 5kW more, but under 4000rpm was pretty sad). I also cut a power steering hose as it was rubbing on the body, so that slowed me down for a session while we fixed it (thanks Peak Performance for their help!).

Things started to get moving in the afternoon session and the times started to come down. First to 2:05, then 2:04, high 2:03 and then 2:03.1 on the last lap of the day. I think that shows there was still some more pace to be found. At that point of the day, everything was a bit overheated and could do with a rest! Still, 2.5 seconds under the personal best and a new club record for Class B was a great result.
Fathers' Day Out

Team Orange headed to Oran Park to celebrate Fathers' day in September. Bel's step-dad Wayne went out in the e21 and my Dad headed out in our trusty Ford Laser. It was a beautiful day but very sad as it was the last time the BMW club would drive there before the track was demolished to build more houses. It is a terrible waste and a horrible end for one of our finest motor sport venues!

The day itself went well with both Dads getting into it and having a great time. The e21 ran without a problem for the whole day while the Laser was fine except for a small coolant leak at the inlet manifold that was solved with some judicious cutting and extra hose clamps.

Andrew was also there in the MX5 and had a great day mixing it up with the bigger cars. The reward for his efforts was race rubber stuck to his road tyres that refuses to come off!

Must send out special thanks to Tom and Robbo for being the trainers for the guys.