Struggle City

Hello everyone… I know I’ve been away for a bit, but I am at least going to try and provide a weekly update, or maybe a bi-weekly update. 

As the title says… I’ve been in “Struggle City” for the last few weeks, or months… more so internally than externally, and mostly about what makes me happy when it comes to my automotive passion. I think what has lead to this, is my poor patience skills. 

My biggest problem was how to move forward with the Subaru… whether to invest, rather, spend money to fix it, or to sell it and move on to something new(to me).  Every time I plan a way to move forward with another platform, I always end up wanting to keep the WRX and keep trying to make it what I always wanted out of it. 

 

I need to get some stuff done on the FOZ(My wife’s Forester), so that I can start to daily drive it. 

 

I spent a few weekends hunting up at my grandfathers house, but it was a rough season. I should be going back up to try again once I’m on vacation for the rest of the year. It was a great time to be able to decompress in the woods, enjoying peace and quiet. 

I hope to bring more news and updates as time goes on. For now I am still focusing on my family and trying to patiently await the arrival of my daughter which is planned to be in mid-February. 

Thanks for all the support!

 

BIG NEWS

As the title states, I have some BIG NEWS! 

On a non-car related front…

I found this summer that I will be a father for the first time. A few weeks back my wife and I went to our doctor appointment to find out which of the two genders our baby would be. Coming this February(2019), we will be having a beautiful baby girl. 

I wasn’t sure how I would feel about having a baby girl, but I can tell you now, I am super happy about it and very excited for the future. I am super excited to be able to pass along what I know to my little girl.

Car related news…

Not much to share. I am however looking at a new option to get the car back out on track on a budget. The new idea is to… I know I’ve said in the past i wouldn’t do this, but it might be the best option, use a JDM EJ20X long block and modify it to be used in place of a USDM EJ255/7. For those not familiar with the EJ20X, it is a 2.0L, dual-AVCS, 9.5:1 CR, turbo engine found in JDM legacies and ADM Liberties. They are also said to have a forged crank, forged rods, and a semi forged piston. 

It is possible to swap the engine into a non-AVCS or single-AVCS engine management system. The bonus of this option is the very low price, higher compression(for E85), and it’s almost drop-in. The decrease in displacement and extra work to convert the dual-AVCS are not my favorite things, but these can be dealt with. 

The idea would be to put the engine in as budget friendly as possibly, and maybe add some small upgrades if possible. This will allow me to get back on track for next season and have some fun. In the mean time, I could save up and budget for the “big” 2.5L build. 

Pretty much at this point, the engine is the only thing need to be fixed as the rest of the car is in pretty good shape and can be ready to go next year very easily. 

Stay tuned for more news. 

Mike – HMFIC/DRIVER

The Future

The Mistress

The Team

The plan for the WRX is to be prepared for “street”, “street mod”,  “level 3 – M2”, and equivalent classes for time attack and time trial events. 

For this we need a reliable enigne and a larger turbocharger to push the car faster. We’ll also need to upgrade to a larger intercooler, that will be front mounted. 

Other modifications will include the addition of functional aero, including a front splitter, rear spoiler, and possibly a rear diffuser. 

Also the braking system will need to be looked at. A larger front braking setup will be used with an OE Brembo rear caliper and rotor. 

The other area of focus will be the interior. We will need to put most of the interior back in the car forward of the B-pillar in order to meet time attack class rules. 

This is the plan for now.

After the loss of the engine in the WRX, I’ve had a lot of time to think about what’s next for the future of the “team”. 

Right now the plan is to compaign the car in Time Attack and Time Trial events in 2020. The idea is to have the car ready and completed after the mid-year 2019 to have a few test sessions before we start competition in 2020. 

Of course plans change, so we are keeping an open mind about the future and what is to come. We are so grateful for the support we recieve from family, firends, and fans on our Facebook and Instagram pages. 

We hope that everyone will stick with us during this down time. We will be back, faster and stronger. 

Track Day to Pave the Way

AFTER ACTION REPORT

What a day… 

The day was filled with lots of highs and lows. The morning was like any other trackday morning, I was hitched up and ready to go.

I left the house early to head out to the track to make sure I had a good spot in the paddock. I arrived to an empty paddock, parked and started to setup my pit area.

Once everything was setup I went to work on the WRX’s alignment, which I had plenty of time to do. I setup the Quick-Trick alignment frames to measure toe and I found the cause of my turn-in and tire overheating issues from the last trackday. The toe-in measurement was a staggering 5/8″, or ~15mm for the metric folks. I must have messed something up when I was trying to center the steering wheel. It was at this time my dad an brother showed up. My dad helped me get the toe sorted out and I was happy with the nearly 0 toe. 

The car was then inspected for tech and it passed as always. I was really anxious to get out on track and see how the car felt with the alignment fixed and the new parts. I had installed the 24mm Whiteline swaybars, front and rear, along with the Autompower Race roll bar, Schroth 6pt harness and the RRS steering wheel with B-G racing steering wheel quick disconnect. 

Drivers meeting was at 9:45am to go over safety instructions and we were sending cars out at 10:30am. I was in “Blue” group, which was the intermediate run group which saw it’s first session line up at 11:10am. I was already in the car with my harnesses tight and helmet on when they called up our run group. I proceeded to grid and lined up first, in hopes to make some good hot laps on my quest for the 1:18’s. 

Once we rolled out on track, I took my ‘out lap’ at about 60% and was feeling out the car. The car definitely felt different, way more free than it had in the past. The tires were very audible, letting me know that grip wasn’t as good as I wanted. 

On my second lap, I started to push at about 90% and caught a Fiat 124 bringing up the end of the group by corner 5 and got the point by out of turn 8 onto the front straight. The brakes were warm and the tires were still fighting for grip. 

On the start of the third lap, just after passing the Fiat, I was pushing hard now, but still trying to get a handle on the car. The car was definitely getting into the corners better, but just didn’t seem to have the ultimate grip that I had felt at previous trackdays. I noticed on the back-straight the boost level was down from what I had set if for, only 15-16psi, not the 21psi I had set it for. I wasn’t too concerned as I had set the calibration to have the boost come on a bit slower. My lines were a mess and I felt like I was overdriving the car, but this all lead to a new personal best time of 1:19.49, which meant I was off to a good start. 

Lap 4 saw much of the same, but I missed some shift points and was paying attention to the gauges almost as much as the track. My driving was sloppy and things just didn’t feel right. My lap time was a 1:19.89, which was shocking as almost everything went wrong. 

I started the fifth lap, much the same, but noticed my EGT and Oil temp gauges were a bit higher than normal. I continued to push hard and by the time I was halfway down the back-straigh the EGT as 1650-1700°F and the oil temps had climbed to 255-260°F which was very uncharacterisitc. I slowed for the right hander at the end of the straight and headed in paddock turn and the car started to stumble and fall on it’s face, as I made the left into the first “S”, the car stumbled, choked, vibrated and something “let go”. I turned off onto the access road and the engine had already died. I stopped before I could get off the “track” and into the paddock. Smoke was coming into the cab through the air vents, I was concerned that there was fire, but others insured that there was not. 

The engine was done, and I was petty upset, but remained calm. Once the track was cleared, the track crew pushed me back to my pit spot in the paddock. 

When I got to access the damage, the coolant was gurgling badly, and the coolant overflow was bubbling with oil in it. Definitely a sign of a headgasket failure. I thought that was it, but later investigation showed the real damage, which can be seen above in the photos. What I think happened was the headgasket let go, flooded the cylinder, which then caused  rod to bend, or break which then lead to the rod cap hitting the case and lowing open the hole. 

I am lucky that the rod/cap didn’t come out of the bottom and put fluid down on track or lock the engine up and cause me to crash. It is definitely a bummer, but it could’ve been so much worse. 

My season is over, and the extent of the damage will need to be assessed. Worst case is that the entire engine will need to be replaced. I won’t know until I get to tear it down, but it is going to take some time to put the budget together in order to be able to get the car running again. 

I am setting my sights on time-attack when I return, in the “Street Mod” class for Gridlife. More news will come as I find out.