Sunday, June 5th: having to take the front end off the car when loading it onto the trailer has been a pet peeve of mine since I got the trailer last year. The 240 has a long nose, made longer by a fiberglass bumper and splitter. So, the goal for Sunday is to extend the loading ramps and lower the trailer a bit. The trailer came with standard straight axles that Steve and I plan to cut up and make drop axles out of. No problem.. (Here is the link to Part One.)
We head down to the local metal recyclers in search of some aluminum scrap that we can use to build the ramp extensions from. Using steel will just be too heavy. The whole point is to make the loading and unloading easier, after all. We dig through the debris and find four identical extruded aluminum pieces that are the right length and should be easy to fab. They have these heavy metal brackets on the ends that more than double the weight and when we go to buy them, the owner wants to charge us the full weight at aluminum price which puts them way out of our razor thin budget. We make an offer, which is refused and decide not to do business with the guy. We’ll check the other scrap yards in town later in the week.
The day passes and work progresses steadily. The heat is taking some of the fun out of the project, but still, it’s pretty cool to be working on a project with Steve again. By late evening we have the axles modified and ready to put back on. Everything goes back together pretty smoothly, which is rare for most of our projects. Buttoned up and back on the ground, all I can think about is how good a shower is going to feel. That and a bed. I have to spend a few hours on work work, so it’s after three when I finally get to sleep. I miss my wife and baby girl.
Monday, June 6th: The heat is exhausting. Mid morning and the temps are already approaching 100 degrees. Not the nice, dry heat you get out west. This is humid, nasty heat that saps your energy. I don’t miss the weather here. I head out to Smileys to pick up a couple odds and ends I need to get some small projects completed on the car. I also need a pair if nomex socks since I’ve left mine back in California.
Errands run, I’m back at my folks house, doing some work work and hanging out with Brandon. I decide to tear into the spare intake and retrieve the IACV. The one currently on the car doesn’t seem to be working properly and I hope this one will help smooth out the idle a bit. I’m able to get the control valve off and cleaned up with little issue. The old intake is nasty. Luckily the IACV comes aprat easily and cleans up well. As long as the solenoids are in good working order it should be fine.
After diner, Brandon and I decide to go see Kung Fu Panda 2. It’s pretty good. The whole 3D thing is a bit overrated, but whatever. It was still pretty good. Home now, and after a long night of work work I finally get to sleep after 3am.
Tuesday, June 7th: More work on the trailer is planned for today. Steve and I make it back up to the metal recyclers, Gold Metal, in Dallas. Steve and I sort through the twisted aluminum and find a few promising pieces. Then we stumble onto the mother lode. An entire pallet full of extruded aluminum tubing that will work perfectly for our new ramp extensions. Funny, these are identical to the pieces we found the other day, sans the heavy steel pieces in the ends. Yay for our team.
We get the pieces bought and back to the house and start cutting spacers and end pieces. A dinner break later and we have one of the ramps complete. Steve and I are both done in from the heat and call it a night. I spend the rest of the evening hanging out with Brandon. I have to take him to his mom on Thursday and then I won’t see him for the rest of the summer. I already miss him. I have more work work to finish after putting Brandon to bed. Another late night and I’m finally asleep after 4am.
Wednesday, June 8th: Today I’m heading over to Alamo to get started on the Pink car. Final prep before we head to Colorado. There’s much to do, including getting the car tuned. I still need to get our Federal Motorsports FZ201 tires mounted, and repair the damage to the body from Texas World Speedway. When the car transitions from the banking to the flat first turn, the right front was slamming into the ground with enough force to damage the splitter and drive the bumper mount upward and damage the mount. Saving that for later, though. I need to focus on getting the engine ready for Brice to tune. I have a great conversation with Bob Vining of Motul and he lets me know that we’ll be doing some stuff with Motul while we’re up in Colorado. Possibly even a photo shoot for their global newsletter along with the Dacia Duster. Kinda Cool!
The day is productive, but the heat slows me down…a recurring theme this week. I decide to get home and spend more time with Brandon. We hang out for the evening with Mom, working on a puzzle mom found in the closet. Brandon isn’t really into it until we are nearly finished. Then he moves in to help us finish.
Off to bed for Brandon, and back to my real job for me. Another late night responding to e-mails and getting crews scheduled for the following days work.
Thursday June 9th: I have to take Brandon to his Moms today so I stay with him for the day till it’s time to go. We hang out and watch TV for a while after lunch before hitting the road to McKinney. A bit of traffic on the way suite me fine since it gives me a bit more time with Brandon. I wont see him till August. This is the longest I’ll go without seeing him since I got custody three years ago. This is gonna suck.
After dropping Brandon I head down to Alamo to continue work on the car. We have a brand new set of injectors which were given to us by Fuel Injector Clinic. The guys over there took all of our data and sent us out a new style of high impedance injectors to replace our low impedance setup. The benefit should be better idle and throttle response. That would be cool. The car has never idles really great. I make the changes to the electrical system and wrap up the install. I also need to top off fluids and finish changing the spark plug wires and we’ll be ready to fire the car for the first time since we had to replace the head gasket. Am I nervous? Hell yes. With no money to do this again, I hope we got it right.
The waiting is over. We fire the car and let it idle while Brice plugs in to start tuning the ECU. Since it’s nearly 1am already we decide to just tackle a few issues with the idle and Brice dials in the voltage from the battery so there’s not such a drop in idle quality when I turn the fans on. Late now. Time to get home a get a few hours sleep. Dyno day tomorrow.
A week away from Home now. I miss Jen and Sophia terribly. As much as I am looking forward to the race, I’m anxious to get home and see my girls.
Friday, June 10th: Back to Alamo to get more work done on the car. I get a call from Dave Carapetyan and find out that he needs some wheels picked up from Enkei in Fort Worth. I’ll take the wheels up to Dave when I head up on Monday. Brice is slammed today, so I head up to pick up Dave’s wheels. A trip that should only take an hour and a half ends up taking nearly four hours due to traffic. Wrecks and construction are the order of the day through the town of the cow. By the time I get back to Alamo, the day is gone and Brice has time to get the car strapped onto the Dyno and get started.
Strapped onto the dyno now and Brice takes the car through the gears. On the first rev up in fourth gear the car jumps to the right and Brice shuts her down. A tooth on one of the straps holding the car has broken and the Pink car does it’s best to escape. Luckily, the other straps and tire chocks do their job and we dodge a potential disaster.
Re-secured and ready Brice again gets the car through the gears and up to temp. The first pull has a heavy miss in the mid range. I’m concerned but Brice is a true professional and barely skips a beat as he turns to his laptop to make changes. More pulls and the miss is still present. Brice asks me to check the plugs to make sure we don’t have any problems there. A quick break for him while I check the plugs. They’re perfect, so I re-install them and Brice gets back in the car. I express my concern, and Brice loos at me and says “It’s no problem. I’ll have it cleared up on this pull”. I appreciate his confidence. Next pull has a miss, but it’s slight. A few more quick keystrokes and Brice makes another pull. Perfect. Smooth and powerful. 463hp. More than I’ve ever had before in this car. Anxious now to see what I can do with it at the peak.
During this process I get a call from Dave Carapetyan thanking me for picking up the wheels for him. He knows I have no spare wheels and can’t afford a set and he also knows how hard it is to get through race week on one set. If you have a puncture, without a way to change a tire on the hill, you’re day is over. And with practice being so important here, that could be a real bummer. Dave lets me know that he has authorized Enkei to charge a set on his card and to call King (sales rep) so I can go pick them up. I’m stunned and feel incredibly lucky to have such good friends. For the first time I feel like I’m really prepared and it’s entirely because of the friendships developed from Pikes Peak.
I take off for the evening and head back up to Enkei to pick up my wheels. King from Enkei has agreed to meet me after hours so I can have a shot at getting all the wheels mounted on tires on Saturday. I meet King, and tell him thanks for his help and begin to head home. Along the way I get a text from an old friend from Seattle that I haven’t seen in a while. He just happens to be getting serious with a girl here in Dallas and is in town for the weekend. I divert to North Dallas and spend the next three hours catching up and enjoying the first bit of relaxation since leaving California. I get a quick call from Brice on the way over and he tells me he tinkered a bit more and we now have 486hp. This is going to be fun.
Saturday, June 11th: Still a few things to get done today. I need to get the wheels off the car and get the new tires mounted. The now track weary wheels need to be cleaned and ready to travel. I also still need to get the right front fixed. A few other small tasks and I’ll feel confident that we can head to Colorado and essentially be ready to go. The heat and humidity are especially nasty today and I’m moving at a pace reserved for snails and turtles, I’m sure. I get the car in the air and get the wheels and tires over to Discount and let them do their thing.
Also on the list is to get the new decals for some of our sponsors attached to the vehicle. I’m finding out that I’m not very good at applying decals.
I get the wheel picked up from Discount and get them back on the car. It’s already getting late so Brice and I wrap things up at Alamo I head back to the house. After another long hot day. I’m looking forward to a shower and some couch time.
Next Time: Wrapping up in Texas and the trip to Colorado.