アップしました!

13 01 2009

ページのトップ・バーの情報をアップデートしました。亀トリックの自己紹介っぽいニュース・アンドインフオメーションなんだ。

今まで、2009年はどうですか?俺なら大学はもう始まって次のクラスを待ってます。12月に卒業予定があるから頑張ってます。今年のジムカーナ・シーズンはまだだけど楽しみにしてるよ。新パーツ買おうかな。。。大学生から金がねえ。。。バイトを探してるのに。タク。 ー_ー;

ところで、前週末新しいクラッチをインストールしました! 特別の物じゃないけど、ドリフトとジムカーナの車には必要ですね。自分でインストールのはめんどくさいが終わった時に満足の感じだった。このごろ、シフト・タイミングが変わってなって、直すために練習練習。(笑)

広告




Hit or Miss

8 09 2008

One of the difficulties facing those afflicted with the hobby of competition driving is that fact that parts are expensive. As a result, many people who can’t afford to do it properly default to one of two general paths:

1) They run autozone spinners, ebay headers, etc.

2) They run a quality machine, but they run it undertuned.

My style has always been to create a clean and thought out car using the better known brands among sport tuning companies. As a result I follow the 2nd line of action, and enjoy the quality and speed as it builds up part by part–a process that has stretched over four years now–while still driving below the tuning limits of my class. This presents a problem when competitors are fast drivers and have a faster car.

In an effort to raise my level of speed to keep up with the top competitors, who have been widening the gap little by little every event, I saved up the money to invest in a set of front and rear adjustable sway bars. What I need most are wider wheels and tires, but so far everyone (who’s fast) in the class competes on 205’s, not 225’s, so it justifies my holding back on the big purchase. Getting an adjustable sway bar set should allow me to customize the car to suit the individual track we will be running on at a given event. I could even switch back to stock for more compliance in the event of a high chance of rain.

The problem with all this was learning the settings during the season as my test days were also points events. Events 5 and 6 I tried different settings with both new bars. The car felt very stable, but was also slow. The front end was too stiff and it would understeer easier than before. Unfortunately I wasn’t convinced of this during event number 5 so I tried again at event 6. After confirming my theory and missing out on claiming points I otherwise would have had a shot at I went back to the drawing board. I ran at event number 7 with the stock front bar and the new rear bar set to full stiff. It seemed to go against the theory as many drivers felt like their FR car improved with a stiffer front bar, but it’s all relative and my springs already biased the car toward understeer. I much prefer an autocross car that turns but is squirrely to one that understeers and is stable. Being a hybrid drift/grip driver does that to you.

It proved to be the right descision and I was running at higher speeds than before. I missed the chance to earn some points though because one of the best drivers in our region decided to come play (again) in STS, which of course knocked me down a place. Event 5 I finished a miserable 9th of 10 about 2 seconds off the pace. At event 6 I continued to experiment with sway bar settings and placed 7th of 10; more than 3 seconds off the pace. After much frustration and head scratching I made the new adjustments and finally at event 7 I placed 4th of 11, within 1 second of the leader. Not where I’d like to be, but considering the 2 top drivers are (or could likely be) nationally competitive I suppose it puts things in a decent light.

The next event will be the last for the season and, amazingly, there’s still a small chance for me to get a Year End Trophy finish despite the debaucle of events 5 and 6. Will I be able to get it right at this last chance for a comeback YEP trophy?

YEP standings and discussion to follow.





Latent Speed

27 06 2008

Things continue to progress for me through the season. Events 3 and 4 have come to a close and I’ve remembered a few more ways of extracting speed from the corners. That’s a little saying I have for people who are still getting used to the sport; “You can extract speed from various parts of the course but you can never really force speed into it.” It’s a reference to the finesse that fast driving requires.

After 2 educational wet events I felt much more re-educated on how to drive the car, what it likes to do and what it doesn’t. Additionally I’d learned that the new tires would require me to drive the car much harder than I thought it was able to be driven if I wanted to keep up with the top competition this year.

Points event #3 was again held at UK stadium and this time we enjoyed lovely dry weather. Another nice plus was that it wasn’t as hot as it would be further into the summer. It also marked the 2nd event that Mike W., one of the first people I’ve brought into the sport, would participate in. He’s driving an old, roughly stock RX-7 FC. It has a street port which puts him into SM2. With everything else about the car being stock he won’t have an easy time but at that level it’s not a great loss, there are some learning curves you may as well hop over without worrying much about whether you’re competitive within your class or not.

I also want to give a shout-out to my friends Mike C. and Chris L. for rolling up in their cars. Chris drives a truck and helped us out with hauling our stuff and also some folding chairs and a cooler of ice water.
Meanwhile Mike brought a digital video camera and filmed some of our runs from the sidelines. Thanks for the support, I really appreciate it!

This event went much better than the previous two. I ran in the middle of the pack for most of the day and on the last run I nailed one corner I kept forgetting to change my entry to which moved me up several positions into 3rd place for a trophy finish. I was about 2 and a half tenths from 2nd and a full second from the first place car. The first place driver and car are both well sorted, but I hope to give chase to them towards the end of the season. For now I’m going to focus on running even with Ryan who finished 2nd. He’s doing great in STS and is well on his way to the 2nd place year-end points trophy. Hopefully we’ll enjoy some friendly competition through the rest of the season too, but he already has enough points to make it very difficult to aim for second. I’m currently working on moving past the previous two events to aim for the 3rd place YEP trophy.

In any case, event 3 went well and as always I drive better and my car behaves best on slightly wider and longer courses than our region tends to run. Ones where line choice will play a bigger part in lap times. It may give the 240, which is at least around 250 pounds heavier (if not more) than the Hondas a bit more wiggle room to make the turns.

Event number 4 on the other hand was a little disappointing. I ran fairly well in it and maintained a pretty firm grip on the 3rd place position until the last run. This time I was the one getting bumped down a spot by someone pulling an excellent final time. So I finished 4th at that event.

The current points standings are:

Eric in his 89 Civic Si with 338 pts

Ryan D in an 86 Prelude with 288 pts

Micheal A with 254 pts

Ryan Z with 251 pts

And yours truly with 188 pts

Currently in 5th but things may be changing up quickly. There are 4 points events remaining for the 2008 season and only a driver’s best 5 are counted for the YEP unless there is a tie. Hence Eric and Ryan D already have enough good finishes to secure the 1st and 2nd place trophies as long as they keep competing. I have one good finish of 3rd towards the 3rd place trophy and as long as I can keep finishing in that place or better (which would be pretty difficult, but I want that trophy) the other drivers previous points are scattered enough that my best 5 at the end of the year have a chance to take 3rd place.

The next event is the 6th at EKU’s Alumni Stadium. It’s a bigger, wider course so I plan to make good progress there. Don’t miss it!





Opening Act

23 05 2008

Well, I’m 2 events into the 2008 Solo2 season. So far the beginning has been less than ideal but was probably to be expected. The car hadn’t been driven much in the year or so it was in storage, and it it had some gremlins to sort out of it. It still does. I hadn’t driven in almost a year as well, save for sparse occasions, and also had many gremlins to work out of my driving. I still do. I missed the test and tune event, the first two points events were in full wet conditions, and one on 2 season old tires.

What can be said is that the car didn’t fall apart, all the wheels stayed attached, and as I learn to drive fast again I’m catching up to the competition. It’s uninspiring now, but if things keep improving at the rate they have then perhaps I’ll be back in the fight mid-season. Here’s the run down.

Car Prep: Upon driving the car I discovered that it was possessed of a strange vibration and stalled about half the time it was in neutral if the RPMs were dropping from the neighborhood of 2.5K+ down to idle. The left rear caliper had seized beyond repair and baked the brake equipment in the back.

I scrambled before the first event to make the car driveable and barely managed to replace the rear caliper before the event. I headed into points event #1 in a car that had a strange vibration in the steering at high interstate speeds and stalled half the time it was taken out of gear. The tires were old, hard, and the tread compound had given up it’s grip on the pavement. I was hoping for a memory jogging (and hopefully confidence inspiring) set of runs in a familiar car that somehow felt like an unknown stranger.
To make matters worse, it rained. Hard. I had my return race in full wet conditions which the old and near treadless RT615’s found intolerable. Every turn I entered with understeer, and half the turns I exited with oversteer. I set a slow first time. Then I matched it. 5 runs and I didn’t improve upon my first, instead hovering tenths behind it.

Not a confidence inspiring drive. But, on the other hand, the car held together if not to the pavement and felt solid under the vibrations of slip angles small and large. I’m sure it had alot to do with the rain and the equipment; having not driven a car towards the limit in so long I didn’t have the vocabulary with which to know if I was driving close to, or quickly crossing, the sweet spot of cornering force. The only other brightside was that my drifting ability seems not to have diminished in the slightest, as I embarrassed myself (though pleased the corner workers) with a show of full lock cone-free course navigation. I placed a miserable second to last in a class where 2 years ago I probably would have been on 2nd or 3rd.

By event number two I had procured an aggressive new alignment a set of Bridgestone RE01R’s-which confirmed my suspicion that the vibration came from the nasty camber wear on the old Azenis-and like before I barely had time to scrub them in properly before event #2. Now I was back to what I was getting trophies with in 2006: A slow, under-tuned, and under-tired car but one that had a chance. Fortunately in this region many of the competition’s cars are also using the 205 width tire. The limit, as I’ve covered previously, is 225. Though I had an interest in pursuing 225 width tires for this season, the bigger picture: weight, offset, and the limitations of a 4 lug bolt pattern make it clear that my only options are Volks priced around 500+ a wheel, and for that money I could have a custom set of wheels made to my own specifications. 17×7.5 +10 or maybe +0 offset anyone?

In any case, event #2 was once again a full wet event. I still had not had the chance to build much of a rapport with the new tires and rain confidence was still nonexistent. At least as an autocross driver I don’t have to worry about an off course excursion being damaging. I was amazed at the traction level of the new tires. They truly made it feel as though I was driving in the dry on my previous (though past their prime) set. Once I got a feel for the course I discovered that the tire always had more grip than I expected of it. On my final run I finally overdrove the tires on one turn; I should have been more aggressive from the start. Again the car felt solid and this time more familiar. Again I wore the URAS driving gloves of doom (you’ll surely notice them in a picture or video eventually). Again I placed a miserable second to last. The gap had dropped from too many seconds to mention down to about one though. And I still had room to drive harder. At least I didn’t feel like I belonged in Z stock.

So it looks like things are off to a slow but not disastrous start. I may not finish this year with a trophy like in 2006, but I’ll drive every event that I can and try to climb to the front of the pack again. What better place to start from? This Sunday is points event #3 and it looks like it will actually be a dry day. If that holds true it will allow me to finally get some real driving in (I have to re-learn fast in the dry before I can re-learn fast in the wet) under the new tires. Too bad everyone else will probably be that much faster too. I think it’s the last points event this year at my favorite location: UK Stadium, so I’ll have to give it my best.





CKR Autocross Schedule Posted

24 02 2008

Recently CKR posted their schedule for the 2008 season! Some events are still tentative but it’s shaping up rapidly. Also surrounding regions KYR and to some degree Cinci region plan events together so that members can enter most of the races from their home and surrounding regions with as few scheduling conflicts as possible. And now, without further adieu, the 2008 season:

CKR

3/16 Test and Tune Dump Truck Training Pad

3/30 Nonpoints Event Applebee’s Park **Tentative**

4/13 Points Event #1 Dump Truck Training Pad

4/27 Nonpoints Charity Event EKU Alumni Coliseum **Tentative**

5/4 Points Event #2 Dump Truck Training Pad

6/15 Points Event #3 Dump Truck Training Pad

7/6 Points Event #4 EKU Alumni Coliseum **Tentative**

7/27 Points Event #5 EKU Alumni Coliseum **Tentative**

8/16 Test and Tune Dump Truck Training Pad

8/17 Test and Tune Dump Truck Training Pad

8/31 Points Event #6 Dump Truck Training Pad

9/28 Points Event #7 Dump Truck Training Pad

10/26 Nonpoints Event Applebee’s Park **Tentative**

Even a quick glance at the schedule will reveal a skewed turnout this year. We had 4 venues in 2006; I’m not so sure what we had last season since I was living in Japan most of it. But we had UK Stadium, Applebee’s Park, EKU, and the Dump Truck Pad. The dump truck pad is actually my least favorite site with UK, Applebee’s, and EKU being the most preferred. With nearly every points event this season being at “The Pad”, tuning exclusively for it will be the way to go. And I’ll miss the test and tune events because I won’t be back in the US by then.

On the bright side, the dump truck pad is small enough that my car’s power disadvantage should be minimized as even more than a normal autocross this venue focuses on cornering speed. I would do well against WRX’s and Evo’s here. Of course, that makes me need those wider tires even more. I’ll have to make an investment there ASAP. This and surrounding KYR and Cinci Region schedules will be going on a soon to be constructed Solo2 page. I have my flight all booked to; I’m getting excited about coming home after a year in Japan.





2008 STS Regional Trophy: Outlooks

9 02 2008

In 2006 I was trying my best in an under-tuned car and placed 4th. Most of the drivers have had one additional year of autocrossing while I’ve had a year where I’ve barely gotten behind the wheel at all. I’ve been practicing using a driving simulator to try my best at preserving the standard driving patterns and reactions in my mind and perhaps the time away from the car will change my perception on driving and my ability to feel the car.

Still, the tire issue bothers me. 205mm wide tires currently carry the 240sx into races but the class limit is ideally a 225mm tire on a 7.5 inch wide wheel. By adding these the cornering speed should improve considerably. In 2006 it was enough for me to know I was riding on the same tire as the best ST drivers. I underestimated the importance of those extra mm’s. Though I couldn’t afford the wheels and tires both so it’s not surprising.

This year I want to invest in a good set of wheels and tires to try and fill the gap of not driving for a year. I don’t want to end up with a much heavier wheel and tire package than I had before or I might negate the cornering advantage I should gain. There’s no choice but to go with taller wheels. As cars continue to evolve the trend is always taller and wider tires so even if I bought a 15×7.5 the class winning tires may not come that wide until you hit a 16 or 17. I have to find out how much those extra inches weigh vs my current tires + wheels.

At this rate I won’t have them on the car until mid season. Assuming the fitments work out and everything holds together I might have a glimmer of hope for a trophy finish in 2008. (Only your best 5 finishes are counted for the YEP) But it’s pretty grim. If the car needs too much maintenance or it looks too hopeless I may make this a drift season or simply lay in wait for 2009.

It won’t be long until I catch a glimpse of what 2008 has in store; I can’t wait.





LSD Disassembly and Rebuild

11 11 2007

Yesterday had some pretty cool moments. Namely helping two of my Japanese buddies disassemble their S13 Silvia Q’s old differential. It was the stock open diff that came with his car but still it was a good primer for the work I’ll eventually be doing on my own machine. He bought a used one already installed in the pumpkin and so he only had to switch pumpkins. I’m really glad I came for the sake of knowledge and building up the friendships there, but really it would have been a pain with only two people. That’s also something good to have learned. It’s important to know how many hands it takes to do something. Someone with a properly arranged shop could get by doing it solo, but if you want to do an LSD swap (assuming you already have the pumpkin off the car) in a parking lot or something 3 people is a pretty handy number to have. From here on out are some simple notes for my own benefit. They are most likely something you guys should be ignoring though since it won’t be very interesting.

1) Loosen as many bolts as possible while the pumpkin is still on the car, it’s hard to hold by hand while torquing loose the bigger ones. Mainly the Diff oil screw.

2) Drain the Diff oil (This can be 80% done while the diff is still on the car; again easier than holding the diff over a bucket. The pumpkin is pretty heavy if you’re wimpy like me haha)

3) MARK WHICH SIDES OF THE DIFF ARE THE TOP, BOTTOM, LEFT, AND RIGHT SIDES!!! If you take the diff off the car and take the cover off it can be hard to tell which output shaft is the left one and which is the right one. For us we were only taking it apart and placing it back together so we could remember but if one was switching diffs and moving the pumpkin around much it could be easy to forget or visualize it wrong in the first place.

4) Remove the Pumpkin cover: Loosen and remove the 8 or so small screws and washers.

5)Remove the output shafts: Using a rubber hammer and something to pry with one can beat/pry the output shafts loose from the diff.

6)Clearly designate left side and right side components, and keep them all together and separate from one another. Again this is an opportunity to screw something up. Don’t.

7) Remove the water and oil shield/thing bolted on where the output shafts were. Place in left and right parts piles.

8) The diff should now be loose in the pumpkin and one can simply push it to where one of the bearings is coming out of one of the output shaft holes, rotate the other side up towards the diff cover area, and pull it out.

9) drain all remaining oil. Don’t forget to look at the final drive gear and spin it around…it looks pretty neat.

10) From here every thing’s apart, but there are some screws and a ring gear you have to acquire from the old diff to mount onto the new one. We didn’t do this step but it looks harder to screw up than the other ones.

11)Use this opportunity to clean everything out really well. Maybe consider painting the LSD pumpkin gold to match the wheels so you can feel like a real dork.

12) When reassembling, make SURE you get backlash right. I would just recommend having a shop do it. Plus if something goes wrong you can make them accountable for it. This is a good thing.

The whole process went very easily and we only spent about an hour taking it apart and putting it back together. I was VERY surprised it was such an easy process and most of the time was spent on preparations like finding something to drain the oil into, or on lack of preparation such as forgetting to loosen the oil drain bolt while the diff was on the car. 2 of us were holding the diff in place with enough force for the 3rd person to break the bolt loose with a socket wrench and a big aluminum pipe over it. That was a bit of a pain. Everything else was super easy; I was utterly shocked. I hope my car cooperates that well, as I plan to upgrade the diff in my car someday also.