Sunday, August 28, 2011

Finalizing the mechanical setup and budgeting ahead...

The mechanical setup of the car has been pretty much finalized with the addition of the Mugen Hardtop I have fitted to my car. The only few things remaining would be minor tweaks like corner weighting, repair of my brake caliper seals due to wear and tear etc. The key benefit would be the aerodynamic improvement of the hard top versus the flapping in the wind of the rib framed soft top. I also removed the soft top entirely including the motors to lighten the car as much as possible. I had the option of spraying the entire car together with the hardtop but frankly I was too lazy to do so considering how pitted the paint would eventually become from track and high speed travel paint chips. Here are some pics (pardon the low quality iphone pics):

So far, the setup would be as follows:

J's Racing Exhaust Header
J's Racing Dual Titanium Exhaust 70RS
Invidia 70MM test pipe (for track use only, stock cat on for street)
Password JDM Carbon Intake
Hondata Flashpro
Odyssey PC680 battery
Toda Baffled Oil Pan
Greddy NS1310G oil cooler
5zigen ProRacer oil catch tank
Koyo Aluminium Radiator
Brake Ducts customized to my specifications by Lye Design
Ferodo DS2500
HPI Brake Hoses
SPC Front Camber Joints
Tein Super Racing Circuit Master Coilovers
AP1 Flywheel
GT Motoring 4.44 Final Drive
Enkei RPF1 Rims
Advan AD08 tyres
APR Carbon front splitter with custom bracket
M and M Honda Thermostat
Mugen Radiator Fan Switch
Mugen FRP Hardtop
Voltex Type II GT Wing with Gurney Flap
Recaro Profi SPG driver's side seat
Mugen seat rails
Defi gauges: Exhaust Temperature, Oil Temperature, Oil Pressure, Water Temperature
Defi Tachometer
Motul Chrono 10w-40 engine oil
Motul RBF660 brake fluid
Moty's M409M 75W-140 Gear oil for my gearbox and differential

I've kept everything else, which isn't mentioned, stock to ensure that parts are always available and running costs are being kept reasonable. By not having a budget and sticking to it, the amateur runs significant risk of overspending with the constant lure of better performance and reliability. This is unacceptable to me as it would go against my ethos of what I had set out to accomplish and the constant expenditure (My budget is limited of course!) would ultimately limit my opportunity to track as often as I need on a fixed setup in order to isolate where I need to improve as a driver.

A rough budget of recurring costs would include the factoring of the following:

Brake pads
Brake discs
Potential repairs
Alignment adjustments
Additional oil/fluid changes

End 2012 or 2013 seems the earliest that I can begin to track as committments take precedence so I will patiently await the return to the track. Let's see then how power, light weight, aero modifications and combined with tuning my tyre/suspension setup with the proper tools delivers on the track. I expect to be formally taking part in competition once I have become consistent as a driver.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Maintenance problems, just part and parcel of journey...

Recently some issues have cropped up which I attribute to the normal maintenance problems that come with a long term tracked car. My brake pedal has gone soggy for a bit and replacing the worn pads and discs with newer 2nd hand spares havent solved it. A cheaper brake pump repair kit hasn't really worked so I may have resort to a whole new brake master pump.

My brakes seem to engage one first and then another which points to a potential sticking caliper on one side of the car. A brake seal repair kit is the solution but thats got to be ordered and it would take time to come in not to say for it to be fitted.

My aircon compressor clutch was jammed and I had no choice but to resort to getting a reconditioned one so that I could get the car going. Although its a 2nd hand unit, it seems to be running fine.

Finally, temperatures seemed to get high on my car and at first I thought it was the thermostat so I swopped it out for a low temperature thermostat with a low temperature fan switch. I then found that coolant temps rising on idle and pinpointed it to a failed radiator fan. I swopped out both fans for new units as this is probably due since my car is about 115,000kms to date.

A couple of hundred spent in total in maintenance but it goes a long way to keeping the car track ready for next year. At least I can focus fully on tracking without delays then! :)