December 6, 2009

Prepping For Winter

Getting the car ready for winter can be a bit tricky it seems, as you want to make sure you don't leave anything out. This is the first year the car will be in the garage all winter, so I had spoke to a few people to see what was necessary for proper storage. In short, your list should look something like this.
  • Quick Wash
  • Oil Change
  • Coolant Change
  • Top Off Gas Tank with Gasoline Stabilizer
  • Park Car on Cardboard Pieces
  • Block Off Wheels with Wheel Chocks
  • Release E-Brake
  • Inflate Tires to 50PSI
  • Set Shocks to Full Soft
  • Empty Glove Box and Other Compartments
  • Place Dryer Sheets in Car to Avoid Musty Smell
  • Remove Battery and Connect to Battery Tender
  • Block Tail Pipes, Cooling Ducts, etc. with Rags to Keep Animals Out
  • Close Windows
  • Set Vents to Open
  • Cover (If Not in Garage)
  • Detail Throughout Winter
I plan to do some detailing while it sits in the garage, like clay off some overspray I had gotten earlier in the year on the car, polish the exhaust tips, other goodies. As for the list, I had to do this all this weekend due to the snow coming. Really wish I could've installed my new brakes first, but oh well! Thanks to Dave and James for help with this list here.

December 4, 2009

Last Purchase Before Winter Sleep!

Decided to pull the trigger early on replacing my brakes as opposed to waiting after winter. The pads were starting to squeal a bit here and there, telling me it was soon time to replace them and probably would last the first and second event of the following year. I went with the Axxis ULT Brake Pads (previously known as Axxis Ultimates) as they have been praised again and again by autocrossers for their great braking ability, consistency, low dust, and good initial bite. Not as hard of an initial bite as a warm set of Hawk HP+ pads, but the overall braking is apparently identical, with a higher brake fade temperature as well.

The pads will be matching up with all new rotors as well. Stock size two-piece rotors from Racing Brake will do the trick here. The rotors are much lighter than the stock rotors, with the front rotors 4.4 lb lighter than stock, and the rear rotors are 2.5 lb lighter than stock, with slots for ventilation.

Can't wait to install these on the car, hoping to get this done before the snow comes!

UPDATE: Just found out that we are expecting a snow storm this weekend, so unfortunately it looks like these will not be installed until after winter. Unfortunate but March is only 4 months away!

November 29, 2009

B Stock RX-8 Champ In STX

The December issue of Sportscar Magazine featured a great cover on Jason Isley trying out STX this year. He has won B Stock in his RX8 a few times from my understanding, and wanted to try something different. Due to copyright issues, I can't scan the magazine and host the article, but I'm sure I can at least discuss it! I wanted to post my opinions on his setup that I found to be interesting, as well as what he did run for STX this year. Comments are welcome as I want to hear other people's take on this.2009 Nationals Specifications
2005 Sunlight Silver RX-8 Sport Edition
Wing, No Aero Appearance Package
Grey and Black Cloth Interior
No Navigation
Standard Stereo System
2,750 lb Race Weight
ABS / PS / 221WHP and 154WTQ

Front -3.0 Camber 1/8 Toe Out / Rear -2.5 Camber 1/8 Toe In
9k Front / 6.5k Rear Springs with
Rebound and Compression 7-Way Adjustable Shocks
18x9 +35 Wheels with 265/35/18 Tires

SR Motorsports Wide Grip Performance Pulleys
Cobb Tuning RX-8 Access Port Tuned by Church Automotive Testing
Braille B2317R Battery

RacingBeat REVi Intake Box
Design Engineering Reflect-A-GOLD Heat Wrap
and Tunnel Shield (Below Airbox)
RacingBeat Header
RacingBeat Race Pipe with Random Technology 300CPI Catalytic Converter
Custom 3' Single Exhaust with Borla XR-1 Multi-core Racing Muffler

Moton Clubsport Monotube Shocks
Hyperco Optimum Body Springs
Mazdaspeed Front Anti-Roll Bar with Poly Urethane Bushings
No Rear Sway Bar Installed
Moton Front Upper Bearing Plate
Small Fortune Racing Rebound Adjuster
Full Alignment and Corner Balance

Forgeline EV1R Wheels
Dunlop Direzza Sport Z1 Star Spec Tires (Shaved)
Goodridge G-Stop Stainless Steel Brake Lines
Racing Brake 4 Piston Front Calipers
Racing Brake Open Slotted Two Piece 13' Front Rotors
Racing Brake Open Slotted Two Piece Stock Size Rear Rotors

Hawk HP+ Brake Pads Front and Rear

Sparco Fighter Racing Seat in Black (Driver only)

So that is it! 8 weeks to build and test out that car for Nationals. Jason came 2nd place in STX and his wife came 1st in STXL. There are some modifications that had me raise my brow in question to be honest. For starters, what strut bar did he run, as they did not mention anything about a strut bar being upgraded from stock. Secondly, no BHR ignition upgrade from the poorly made stock ignition coils? Even if he was planing to go back to B Stock from the beginning, after spending that much on some of the other mods, I personally would have also bought the best ignition kit out there. I had thought that STX allowed you to change clutch and flywheel, or at least rear diff but I guess not as I was told.

Another one that has me puzzled is his alignment, as well as running without a rear swaybar. That really surprised me. No rear swaybar would cause the rear end to be pretty easy to kick out if I'm not mistaken, unless somehow his spring setup makes up for it? The alignment of running such a high camber, especially in the rear surprised me. I was always told not to go so high on rear camber to ensure all my power is being put down. Granted he is running 265, and I'm currently running 245, but could that width really make up that sort of difference? -3 in the front I suppose I could see. The toe setup is very close, if not identical to mine so that made me feel good.

I guess another is the pulleys. That has been going up and down on the forums as some see it useful, and others see it as useless. I've heard it can cause cooling issues due to under driving the water pump, but I've also heard that people have claimed a 10HP increase. The battery was a good tip as I've been looking for a replacement battery for next year, so I'll have to look into the one they chose and see how good it is compared to another stock battery.

Some people had questioned the cat, and why he didn't go for a 100 CPI cat. I'm not too familiar with catalytic converters, except that we need high quality metal ones. Also, one racing seat as opposed to two?

A lot of little intricacies with the setup, but then again, I'm no RX-8 guru. I've learned whatever I do know through a lot of forum surfing, autocrossing, and breaking things on my own car. I hope this post can enlighten people as it has me, and give people some ideas about various setups. I know I can't wait to try out some setup ideas I've come up with in the past, as well as because of this article.

Pictures taken from the Sportscar Magazine Official Website.

November 20, 2009

Issues Fixed!

Hey there everyone, sorry for the lack of updates as it has been quite a hectic month. Back and forth trying to fix the car, along with getting sick and upcoming Holidays. Big thanks to Liberty for their help, and big thanks to Oleg for finding out the source of the loud banging noise. Pictures taken are some random snaps as she is finally back home in the garage.

The power steering rack, as well as PCM (Power Control Module I believe) had to be replaced. Most RX-8 owners usually need their wiring harness or PCM replaced, but a few needed their rack replaced instead. I guess I needed the two! Car feels normal again with no issues, and have driven it a bit before deciding to post this.

My oil pan needed to be resealed again it seems, so they had taken care of that while the car was there. Hopefully this time I won't get any leaking after a couple of months.
Lastly, the loud banging noise that was resonating throughout the car was actually from my rear passenger side shock. It seems the adjuster screw came loose on the threads around the shock body and slipped a bit (the one sitting right behind the springs).

A few other Stance owners have mentioned running into this after numerous track events/autocrosses. Luckily, the fix is to simply retighten it. I really didn't feel like getting anything replaced right before the winter or something.

Not much else, but I am looking forward to Jason Isley's article in Sportscar coming up in December regarding his RX-8 setup for STX! Stay tuned for a review of that.

October 20, 2009

2010 Renegade Miata Dates

The dates for next year's events were posted on Renegade Miata! I'll be updating my Google calendar later on with these dates, as well as doing my annual calendar post that has a list of many different clubs and car show events. Here they are for now

April 10th - Saturday
May 29th - Saturday
June 20th - Sunday
July 31st -
August 21st - Saturday
September 11th - Saturday
October 16th - Saturday
October 23rd - Saturday

October 17, 2009

Renegade Miata Final Event!

Well, this is it everyone! The last Renegade Miata event for the season. A lot has happened this year, and I would have to say it's been a great roller coaster ride. I've learned a lot from my peers at Autocross, learned a lot from codriving with a few different people this year, and have definitely grown a lot with my car. It's too bad that it has to end, but with how cold it is getting in New England (was in low 30's this morning, highs of low 40's) there is just no way we could continue to race.
Today's course was unfortunately a crossover course due to the low amount of people registered. A crossover course is where you go up the runway, and turn around at the end and go backwards a bit, go up the other runway, turn around, and then cross the finish line. Very challenging to a variety of skilled drivers from new to old. If you remember from last year, my very first autocross was a crossover, so this brought back some bad memories for sure.
Big ups to Bob as I got to codrive with him today, and we got to use his 285 sized Hoosier A6 R compounds on my car, wrapped around some nice looking black Konigs (factory wheel spec as he is in B Stock). I was surprised how well it looked on my car with that offset and a black wheel, but I think I'll stick to my silver wheels for now! Today was really a bad luck day for me, both on and off the course! The car's power steering began to give out on me on my first run, but then came back for the rest of the day until the very end of the night when I was ready to leave. Ran out of oil (luckily I remembered my usual extra container of oil), ran out of gas near the end, lost a piece of the splash shield/oil cooler covering on the course and managed to run it over, and went off course almost every run. Not sure if I even managed to secure 2nd place due to all that, but hopefully I got something!

This race taught me a lot, and I already can't wait for next year to apply what I've learned. The settings I should be running, what to work on for driving, take some Autocross Evolution schools, and maybe even a 3rd club for more seat time. I'll be updating this post with results when they come out, for now enjoy the pictures and keep checking back as I'll be updating not as often, but probably getting back into media reviews and other neat things. I have some body work project planned around December while she sleeps, maybe another mod, so stay tuned!

UPDATE: Results are posted! Great job Bob for getting 1st for the year! Good job Kevin and Bill! Looks like I secured 4th, so maybe next year I'll be able to secure a higher position. (As I've said before, my wheels look great on anything, even Bob's truck!)
(Big ups to Bruce for letting me try out his car on fun runs! Car is just as fun as it looks! Rocked a 1'26 in it. Not bad I'd say!)
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October 11, 2009

SCCA Final Points Event!

Well this is it everyone! Do or die was how I felt today as I was really aiming for 3rd Place for the year. Results haven't been posted yet due to software problems apparently, but I have a good feeling I've secured 4th place in SM. Out of how many, unsure of that as well. The event overall was pretty hectic as it was the Stirling Moss Run Offs, so we had no lunch break and were racing until almost 6pm with only 5 runs for the day. The weather was very cold out, to the point I was wearing a sweater and a leather jacket with a hat. The car said it was 60 out, but the cold wind is what made it worse I think. This was great practice for racing in the cold though, as I have to learn some time or another. I was still running with my summer settings of 8 clicks in the front and 6 clicks in the rear on my dampers, with 29 PSI in the front and 32PSI in the rear. As I took my morning runs, I had to play it easy as the car felt very uneasy, like walking on glass. The slightest touch of the gas pedal and I could lose it or something.
After talking with Brian and Keith (Thanks again, appreciate it big time guys) I learned a great setting for the cold that made the car feel very planted, and even better than my previous setting in the hot. Full soft rear, 2 clicks in the front with 28PSI in the front and 30PSI in the rear. It is just too bad that I figured this out on my last run only, getting me higher than desired times. But it is all a learning process and I'll know for next year for sure.

I'll be updating this post with a link to the results as soon as they are released, but for now enjoy the pictures and hopefully see everyone at SCCA for the last event, SCCA Team Challenge! Check out what the new Liberty Mazda magnet! Trimmed off the edges and fit perfect next to the numbers.

UPDATE: Results have been posted! Check out the Final Results of the day, the Pax Time Results, and Final Raw Results.

October 7, 2009

Showing Some Liberty

Liberty Mazda's Service department has really helped me out so many times that it's pretty much second nature to call them instantly if I need any sort of service done. The amazing service, quality, making sure I'm taken care of as well as any friend of mine that I've sent over for service as well. For that, I had asked if there was a way I could return the favor (not just by paying the bill!).

So here is a magnet from them with their logo and information on it. Looks great! I may modify it a bit to fit nicely somewhere on the car, but we'll see. I'll try it out this weekend. Thanks Liberty!

September 20, 2009

Cars & Copters

It's been a while since I've had my car in a car show, let alone go to one. Today was the return of the infamous "Cars and Coffee" meet, only this time with helicopters instead! I'll let the pictures do the talking, but it was a nice event in Plymouth Airport. Thanks to Mike for the awesome pics of the car, awesome movie Josh, and great to see everyone!
NEPOC Cruise to the Show!
Mike's Gallery Gallery
Another Gallery
Someone from NASIOC Gallery
Another Random Gallery
Banilejo's Gallery

September 17, 2009

More Exhausting Exhaust Stuff!

Was feeling better yesterday and decided to play around with the exhaust for a bit with my buddy James at Oleg's house. We solved a few issues I was having, but created one big one in the end.
  1. We tightened the bolts from midpipe to header more and that helped seal the exhaust leak upon startup. It's very minimal now and barely lasts awhile when the car is warming up.
  2. We were curious if the piece that had broken from the midpipe would be able to come out if we tipped the midpipe or something. Instead, when we took off the OEM Catback..the piece came out from there. No more rattle!
  3. We tested the HKS Hi Power with this midpipe to see what the volume levels would be like. As awesome as it sounds, with the crackling and popping, especially at redline, it is still too loud.
The problem then started as we took off the HKS and put back on the stock catback. For some reason, every bolt we put back into the midpipe, was getting stripped, and then finally one of the bolts snapped inside of the midpipe. Wasn't a pretty sight... especially at 1am.

As I'm writing this now, just got a call from the dealership (James took the car in for me, big ups to James!) saying that it is all set. Big ups to Liberty Mazda for saving the day as usual! For now, it looks like I'm rattle free and exhaust leak free ( for the most part), but catback less. I think I'll be waiting for the BHR catback, as I have a good feeling about whats to come with it. Stay tuned.

September 14, 2009

Exhaust Update

Was at Liberty Mazda today to get my worn engine mounts replaced as well as my old OEM header to be installed again in hopes it'll get quiet and fix the exhaust leak. Engine mounts helped make the car a lot smoother, so that worked out great!

As for the exhaust, it seems I still have a slight leak when it is cold. The flange isn't warped like the other header though luckily, so it could be the old gasket warped due to the previous header. The annoying buzz is gone, and the exhaust is as quiet as stock, so I think I'm going to try the HKS back on the car again in hopes it won't be too loud again. I think it will work out fine, just need to narrow down how to fix the leak, and wait for BHR to release Ver. 2 of their midpipe to get rid of the occasional rattle.

Stay tuned.

September 13, 2009

Autopower Rollbar

Looks like I finally got to install my rollbar that has been hanging out in the garage for over a month! I want to give a big thanks to Oleg and Josh for their help in this little project, and thanks to James and Expo1 on how to install, tips for sealing and undercoating, the works. As you can see, the final result came out awesome and I was really happy that I painted the rear and bar flat black, as everything came out smooth and blended perfect. One of the added benefits of doing the interior the same color as the rollbar is that when we scratched a bit of the metal to install the bar, I just sprayed it after with flat black.

Below is my guide on how I did the install. I was recommended to do it one way, and read somewhere else to do it another, but so I'm glad to hear suggestions for other viewers but this way is how we approached it and it came out great!

Tools to have should be
  1. Power Drill
  2. Lubricant for the Drill Bit (we used PB Blast)
  3. 3/8 Drill Bit
  4. 14 Open End Wrench
  5. 14 Socket with Wrench
  6. Rustolium Underbody Rubberized Spray
  7. Black RTV Silicone Sealant
  8. Touch up paint (if you care about scrapes inside your car)
  9. Phillips Screw Driver
  10. Normal Tools to remove your wheels (socket, jackstands and jack, etc)
  11. Trusty and "overly willing to help" friend
  12. Patience and food
Now, we started off with the car already gutted (if you had read the previous post you'll see that my carpet has been removed from front chairs to the back and the rest of the rear is gone) so we had little to no prep work other than pushing the seats forward as much as possible. Once you're done prepping the rear by removing the rear seats, the side plastic coverings, and pushing the carpet out of the way, follow the steps below.

  1. Bring the rollbar into the car with your friend. Be sure to have one of you follow the bar into the car, climbing over the powerplant frame and out the other side. Just guide the feet through, and aim the top of the bar towards the rear of the car.
  2. Once the bar is in, position it so that the feet of the rollbar is on the floor and against the back of the rear seat molding? Not sure what you call it, but basically put the feet back as far as you can. That is where you'll want the rollbar in the end.
  3. Place in the legs into the rollbar. Line up the holes in the legs with the holes on the rollbar piping. Be sure that the feet of the back legs are set so the 2 holes are faced down and not up. (look at the backing picture below)
  4. Bolt in the the legs onto the rollbar. Be sure to use the neoprene nuts for the bolts on the legs.
  5. Once the legs are prepared properly, slide the rollbar back in the car as much as possible so that the feet of the hoop are against the frame where you saw before.
  6. We started drilling the feet of the hoop with the drill, doing one hole at a time. We drilled one hole on the right side, then one hole on the left.
  7. After the drill, we bolted those holes so it would help keep the rollbar in place during the drilling of the other holes.
  8. From here, we drilled so that it was a cross pattern like putting on a wheel. So if you do do the bottom right hole, you want to do the upper left hole. Be sure to bolt the holes after you make them.
  9. Once the hoop legs are done and bolted in decently enough to hold it in place, it's time to jack the car up to do the rear.
  10. Once the car is jacked up at the rear, be sure to remove the rear wheels, and rear wheel well lining.
  11. Go into the car and do the same as you did with the hoop at a time on each side, with a bolt right after to keep it firmly in.
  12. Once all holes are drilled, we took the nuts off the bottom of the feet to the hoop to prepare the backing plate. Spread RTV Silicone sealant all over the plate so that it will seal once you place it up against the bottom of the car. Place some nuts under the plates to hold the plates in place for the hoop.
  13. Do the same for the wheel well bolts now.
  14. Once plates are on all feet, under the car, its time to start really bolting in the bar. We started tightening the hoop first, getting one side a decent amount, then making the opposite side identically tight.
  15. After the two hoop feet are decently tight (not full), do the same for the rear feet in the wheel well.
  16. From here start tightening all of the bolts until you no longer can, evenly throughout the car. A final step we did to ensure the bolts were on as tight as possible was took the impact gun to the top of the feet (in the car) while another person used the wrench to keep the nut from moving under the car.
  17. After a couple of quick jolts, the bolts are as tight as possible. From here put on the remaining nuts onto the bolt so that the end result is two nuts per bolt (see picture of finished bottom)
  18. Once done and ensuring that everything is torqued nicely, spread RTV Silicone along the edges of the plating under the car. You'll notice that RTV has come out since you compressed the plate against the car, creating a smoosh effect. Just be sure to spread enough around the plating so that it's as sealed as possible.
  19. Once done with the sealant, the last step will be to spray the rustolium undercoating rubber spray all over the plating and bolts under the car, and inside the wheel well. This will ensure that everything is protected and sealed so you won't run into any rusting issues in the near future.
  20. Once done, patch the car back up and you should be done! Be sure to touch up any scrapes or scratches that may have happened while installing the bar.
To wrap harnesses around the rollbar, I followed this video from Schroth on youtube. I'm not sure if this is the completely correct way to wrap it, but I'm sure they know their stuff.

September 10, 2009

Interior Decorating - Part 3

The final step to this whole project was very time consuming, and not in the fun way like with the dry ice. I thought over the best way to really get everything painted that I wanted to, with the least amount of hassle. I originally thought of foam brushes and flat black Rustolium paint from a can, but decided that taping up the car with painters tape and spraying it down seemed the easiest way to go. I'm not really looking for immaculate quality in the first place, just something to change the 5 color scheme I had going on in the back and trunk. If you are looking to make the rear and trunk pretty and very well detailed, I'm not sure what it would entail in terms of maybe needing primer, or a better sanding then just the scuff pad I used, but for what I'm looking for it is probably above and beyond what I'm looking to do for just a simple touch up.With the help of my friend Lou, we took a couple of hours taping up half the car with the blue painters tape. We made sure that the wires, carpet edge, power plant frame cover, strut bar, seatbelts, seatbelt bar, door sils, and the plastic speaker covers were taped up nicely while taping around the edges of the trunk to focus on just the inside compartment and around it (not the trunk walls) and along the side of where the wheel well meets the rear quarter panels (which is usually hidden by the interior plastic that is the arm rest for passengers). The last thing before painting that was done was the removal of the OEM body braces (the two bright silver shiney braces that sit behind the passenger seats) so it would not be in the way and I could paint it separately.

Once that was all completed, I took some professional grade Rustolium flat black spray cans and went to town on the car. Didn't take too long of consistent slow motions along the areas that needed paint, and only took me 2 full cans. Just be weary of the fumes as even having everything open for ventilation and a mask, it still was very strong.

After letting the car sit in the garage for over 24 hours with everything open and the garage door half open, the paint was dry. Still a bit of a smell (that I used frebreeze on, silly as it sounds) but it should be okay enough that you can take away all of the painters tape. Becareful removing the tape from wires as I noticed it got pretty sticky and I thought I was almost going to yank the wire off if I kept pulling like I was. The end result was just what I wanted. Simple and clean. Not perfect as I noticed some small spots that were covered by a wire or something else, but as I mentioned, all I really wanted was to make it one color and make it cleaner. Time consuming, but this was a fun project with a good turnout. Looks like the car is now ready for the rollbar install! Stay tuned.

September 8, 2009

Interior Decorating - Part 2

Started the second part of the preparing of the car. I picked up from Home Depot one of those scrub sponges you use for serious residue on dishes for the kitchen, and a bottle of GooGone. I sprayed A LOT of GooGone on every tar residue spot (don't be shy, just keep spraying) and let it set for a good 15 minutes. From there, I scrubbed each spot with the sponge as much as I could to get out any sort of residue left from the tar or adhesive.

It worked great, just a big mess of black thick goo after though. Clean it all up with paper towels after, and vacuum it up for good measure. I could have gotten a bit more adhesive on the floor, but it is so strong it would have taken me a lot longer when it was something so small anyways. I figured since it was still light out after doing this, I would start sanding down the parts I was ready to paint. I used about 6 multisurface scuff pads to lightly sand down all of the trunk, the backing of the rear passenger area, floors, and the sides of the power plant frame. Lastly, another vacuum pass to get out any of the dust from the sanding. Tomorrow will be part 3! Stay tuned!

September 7, 2009

Interior Decorating - Part 1

I was feeling a little better today so I decided to move forth with one of my other projects; preparing the rear of the car for the rollbar. I wanted to modify the carpet so that there was no longer carpet in the rear, as it really looked half done and not appealing. Then, I wanted to remove the sound deadening tar for weight savings, as well as having it so that the rollbar bolts down to metal directly and not metal – to tar – to metal.
Big ups to Lou for helping me out with this project as I got to see some of his handy blade work. We removed the carpeting first with careful cuts due to the wires under the carpet around that area. After that, we removed the foam that was under the carpet. Then we went over the cuts to make sure it looked as clean as possible. Once done there, we were ready to remove the tar, so we went on over to Brookline Ice & Coal for some dry ice.

WARNING For those of you who don’t know, dry ice can be fatal. Try to avoid breathing in the fumes of the dry ice, especially from the core as those fumes are the most poisonous. Don’t touch it with your skin as it will be instant freezer burn. If you’re handling it with gloves and you feel a hot sensation, not the typical cold feeling, immediately drop it as whatever protection you are using is not thick enough. For the project you’ll need
  • We Bought 10 lb of dry ice slabs (above) for the entire trunk, and a bit of the rear floor with some left to spare.
  • Hammer or Rubber Mallet
  • Chisel
  • Thick Leathery Gloves
  • Painting Mask
  1. Break up the ice into decent sized pieces and settle it on top of the tar
  2. Try and cover as much tar as possible with the dry ice, and if you need more just break it into smaller pieces. NOT too small as it will evaporate faster and be less effective
  3. After 15 minutes you’ll notice the tar start to turn light in color, meaning it has become brittle. Here is where you want to remove the ice and place it on another piece of tar, and grab your trusty hammer
  4. Beat on the tar with the hammer in various spots until you notice it to start cracking and shatter
  5. From there, I used the hammer to loosen the tar from the metal if I had to, but the rest of the way I used the chisel or back of the hammer to pull at the tar
  6. Repeat this process for all the various tar patches in the car
  7. For the tar patch that goes from the trunk and ends at a slant behind where the passenger seats would be, set as much dry ice as possible near the edge. The fumes will do a waterfall effect over the edge and slowly work into the tar, making it brittle enough to remove with a chisel after. Will take longer than the usual 15 minutes (took us 30- give or take)
  8. For the floor tar, you want to save this one for when you have other things to do right after. I say that because this one took the longest for us, as we needed roughly an hour or more of thick blocks to stay on the floor tar, allowing you to do other things meantime. We’re not sure why it took so much longer, and even then it was still a bit of a pain to remove. It had all sort of extra adhesive to it that I had to chisel out which took me some extra time.
Once you’re done you’ll notice there is a bit of residue left over from the tar patches all around the car. I’m saving that for part 2, but I think a wire sponge and some adhesive remover (maybe industrial googone?) should be able to do the trick here.

After the project though, we weighed how much the bag of tar was along with the feeling of how much heavier the shop vacuum became after taking all the little pieces. Give or take, we shaved off 15-20lb, and there is still plenty under the front seats that run along to the front of the car! Stay tuned for Part 2 of this project, that I'm hoping to start tomorrow.

September 6, 2009

Renegade Miata 6th Event

This event didn’t go exactly to plan as I wasn’t used to the concept of cold pavement with cold tires. It was roughly 55 degrees out, and my tires were like ice skates when they weren’t warmed up, not really allowing me to do much other than take it easy and learn the course as much as possible on my first few runs. I really wasn’t into it the event at all, regardless of how fun the course was.

I think I was mostly bummed about the exhaust ordeal and not being done yet, as well as lack of sleep due to getting very sick over the weekend. I still placed decent though, but I would’ve liked to see myself with lower times. At least I know where I was going wrong, ontop of being sloppy with late turning, not looking ahead, etc. Finished the day with consistent 1’24’s. Results are posted here. Thanks to Kai for the pics!

September 1, 2009

Hey everyone, sorry for the lack of updates but it’s been pretty quiet and I just got back from a well needed vacation. I was able to get together with James and Oleg to put in a few replacement parts that I mentioned before were giving me problems. The airbox got replaced (thanks for the part Alz0rz!) with one that has screens for proper MAF readings now, and the exhaust midpipe got replaced by a new one from BHR in hopes that the header flange to midpipe will seal better, as well as the rattle to go away.

To top it off, we were able to slap on a nice banner from one of my sponsors, We’ll see how this midpipe turns out, but the idle is great now, and the banner blends in just right!

August 16, 2009

Renegade Miata's 5th Event & Thoughts

Long day at Autocross today. It was a great course with a lot of areas you can pick up a lot of speed on. I managed to score a 1'18.9 clean with the top time in the Other Mazdas class being 1'15. Not bad, though I could do some improvement on specific parts I suppose. I did however learn from Brian Lavesque. Big ups to him for teaching me proper tire pressure and that, surprisingly, I was running VERY high tire pressures.

I went over my pressures with him and he co-drove with me in the morning to test out some pressures. From 37 all around, we found out that 29 in the front and 32 - 33 in the rear was a much better setup. The car felt completely different, and bit very well into the turns with just the right rotation I needed for the rear. I'll be taking a different approach for now on for tire pressures and using them on the course.

Sadly, at the end of the event, not only did I have to deal with exhaust buzzing (which we've narrowed down to my header, and the buzzing is resonating throughout the midpipe) but I began to get a very loud, heatshield like rattle. I was getting it at idle a bit, and then at acceleration, the car sounds like the heatshield is under gun fire. It's very loud, terrible sounding, and I noticed out of no where a loss in power. It was the same feeling I've felt before when my catalytic converter had gotten clogged. I also pulled a check engine light for "catalytic converter below accepted performance threshold". Now I know I'm catless, so that CEL would come up at some point, but right when I start getting the rattling and then loss of power? I don't know.

At this point I'm in a bit of a slump. The rattling COULD be this here. Especially since I switched back to stock catback which is a much bigger exhaust, but it could be something totally different. And after finding out that pulling the screens from my intake is a bad idea (the screens apparently smooth the airflow over the maf), I'm not exactly running like I should be.

And this is the slump. What do I do? How should I do it? I've thought about replacing the intake with a Mazdaspeed version as I've read dyno charts that the Mazdaspeed offers better midrange and a bit more torque, where as the modified intake deal offers more horsepower. I could try and find a used intake as well, thats not an issue. I have a feeling I may get better response once I fix my intake. As for the exhaust, it's a completely different ball game.

I spoke with Bill of Small Fortune Racing and he suggested the use of heat wrap around my headers to potentially kill the buzz. The buzz could be due to thin walls of the header, or length of the runners, or both. The wrap may dull that out since it will be wrapped around the runners and added some "weight" to them essentially, sort of like a sound deadening material. If that doesn't work, I need to get a new header before the buzzing drives me nuts. Now as I've explained before, it's not a light buzz or something easily ignorable... It really sounds like a 2 stroke chain saw, and it's terrible. The midpipe is taking the buzz and due to the design (we're guessing, judging by what we saw and how it is made in there) it looks like it's being taken and amplified, while the rest of the noises are being dulled and silenced. As for the rattle, the slight power loss and check engine light? No idea. I suspect I'm going to do some sort of big change though to solve this problem, but in the meantime, I'm open to anyone's thoughts and comments on this.

Results on this event and results so far for the season are here. Looks like I moved from 2nd to 4th for the year. I guess I'll try and aim for 3rd, but no promises.

August 10, 2009

Reverse Engineering?

Wasn’t feeling so hot so I decided to take it easy today and take today off. Once I was up to par, I took a trip up to Josh’s house as I had a good idea about my exhaust. For now, so I can keep my new found power with this midpipe but stay quiet, I decided to swap back on a stock catback and keep the midpipe on. The results were excellent as the car is very quiet and I can actually hear my engine! We are still hearing a sort of buzzing so we are investigating what it could be. I believe it is the header, but we’re all not 100% yet. Until I get that solved and decide what I will be doing for my catback, I will be running with this setup for now. Big thanks to Josh for the help.Also decided to debadge the car since we were there. Not sure 100% how I am going to fill the holes, probably how I filled the holes on the rocker panels just with a smaller plug, but we’ll see for now. Check out the video below of the car sound now, you’ll notice how much more quiet it is, but you’ll hear that slight buzz.

August 9, 2009

SCCA Northeast Divisionals - Day 2

Ready to rock today! I realized I didn’t mention much about the course last night, but then again I don’t remember too much as my head was really everywhere but on the course. Today the course was setup going backwards, with a few turns changed. The beginning and middle sections of the course were VERY fast in which if I was a better driver, I know I could have easily hit 3rd if need be. At the end it was tricky, as it looked fast but it was actually a slow and steady section.
After all the racing, running around on grid and getting some work action in, we looked at our final scores. I came in 6th on Saturday, right behind everyone with R comps except for one, and on Sunday, I came in 7th place, right behind two really good drivers on R comps. We sort of had a small battle between us in SM class, as it was the slower drivers (as John put it) and then the really fast guys, spreading a huge gap between us. I’m proud that I was the top driver in SM on street tires (which was only me and one other person, but hey!), but I would’ve liked to see a bit more progress against some of the other R comp drivers. Next year I’ll step it up a notch in skill though, and not sound!Big thanks again to everyone for the help and the good times. I’m really glad I turned around and signed up for this event as it was really fun, very educational, and worth the money. Really worth it all. Now to do something about my loud exhaust…

Big thanks to everyone for all the pictures. Tons of pictures linked below with plenty of awesome cars in them! Results are also linked below!
Final Results
Final Raw Time
Final Pax Time
Keith's Pictures
Drew's Pictures
Ed's Pictures 1
Ed's Pictures 2