Speed Ventures Evo Challenge at Streets of Willow Springs -
December 3, 2004
Trying to Stop the Losing Streak
"We Keep Rolling Snake Eyes"
Wayne is now opting for a one HP(Human Power) motor to get the Evo moving again
So I've been bugging Autowave to hurry up with the damn S2000. I have nightmares about it turning into a PMUM rebuild scenario, where it takes a full year until the car gets back on the road after a blown motor. It has been 9 months without my daily driver (it blew up in February) of which seven months were my fault (as I didn't have any cash to fix the motor). It takes a while to get the pieces in, and then Autowave wanted their engine guy to put in stronger springs and valve retainers, and you know what happens when you give something to an engine guy. It is like giving a car that needs a new suspension to Messley. It disappears for months! Ask the Pantera owner whose car has been at Messley's since the summer solstice...
Jason Trumpio helped Wayne out in building up his third Evo motor in 3000 miles. The goal for Motor Number 3 is to make it stronger, and put it together right, so that the motor is more reliable. Of course sooner or later Wayne will not be able to resist the urge to up the boost.
So Jason started building up a stock motor into something that would be more reliable. Jason had to do some research, talk to people, source the parts, wait for the parts to come in, and of course some of the parts will come in wrong and then he has to ship them back, etc. Once everything is delivered correctly, then Jason will assemble the motor, and then Wayne has to find a guy to put the motor in the car. One day in October, the motor shows up!
The third motor. In 2500 miles.
Wayne is ecstatic! He tries to get a guy familiar with Evo motors to come by our shop and put the motor in. The guy comes by to take a look at everything, but then says he needs the head to come off the motor in order to put the motor back in the car. Jason says, "No FFing way! I put this motor back together perfectly, just put it in the damn car!" But the mechanic wants to drop the motor in from the top, to make it easier to install for him, instead of taking out the entire bottom suspension stuff off the car and bringing the motor in from the bottom. I guess when the motor comes in the from the top, the head assembly cannot be on the motor. So they blow off this mechanic, and try to find another one.
The Van that couldn't drive straight and has a hole in the radiator
Wayne calls Road Racing Engineering, and they said that they just happen to have some spare time, and can put the motor in without taking the head off. We proceed to throw the motor into the beat up kidnapping van that Wayne bought for relatively dirt cheap. Well, actually cheap but a lot of money seems to be going into for repairs so it can make it from point A to point B, and those two points are only separated by a couple of miles.
Lots of parts
We throw it all in the van and head over to Road Race Engineering
A few days later, Wayne goes over to Road Race Engineering and picks up the mythical Evo that has been dead since the April OTC. He's buzzing it around at low RPMs with a big grin on his face. It's alive. I can't believe he got his car running before my S2000. So now he has to put in 500-600 break in miles on the car before he starts taking it to the redline.
So he figures he will put on his break in miles on the trip to Pahrump for the Speed Ventures Radical Challenge. (which was in the last chapter). To make a long story short, 200 miles after the engine rebuild, it now it appears that the front transfer case is making a whining sound. Of course Mitsubishi will not warranty it, as Wayne has been blacklisted, despite the fact that it is a known problem that the front transfer cases are dying at an abnormal rate. So he's trying to find a used transfer case somewhere, as opposed to paying out another 2000 bucks for a new one. But other than the transfer case whining, Wayne says the Evo is the most fun car to drive on the city streets that he has ever owned. And this is coming from a guy who has owned a 911SC, 944 Turbo, 911 Turbo look, 944 Turbo, NSX, Ferrari F355, a second NSX, and a Ferrari 360 Modena. And the Evo has four doors!
The Sparco Evo is always heavily favored at any import event it goes to.
After thinking about it, in the year or so that Wayne has owned the Evo, he has broken the motor in three times, for a total of say 1800 miles. Which means he only has 1200 actual "driving miles" on the car. So he has more "break in miles" than regular driving miles! Now that's what I call a losing streak....
The Evo guys are at the Streets of Willow in full force
Speaking of losing streaks. I woulda bet on the Yankees vs. the Red Sox those last three games, and I would have gone 0-3. Fortunately, I didn't have any time to try to place a bet. I woulda then bet on St Louis, but I woulda gone 0-4 on that. I woulda bet that Kerry would win the election. Now I'm a total of 0-8. Damn. Last month, Wayne drove the Flamemobile half a lap on the track and then the clutch blew up. 0-9. We took the karts out to Moran on Sunday, November 14th, and we ended up wrenching on them after every session. We drive 15 minutes, break stuff, then thrash for 15 minutes to fix it, back on the track for 15 minutes, break shit, thrash in the pits for 15 minutes, etc. We do this cycle about 7 times. We broke two radiators mounts, a spindle bearing/bushing, six O-rings on the brake bleeding screws were deteriorated, 3 flat tires, one muffler, cracked two gas tanks. Make that 0-10. At least we have a spare kart and a lot of spare parts so we don't have to go home grumpy. We never go to Moran on a Sunday, usually we go on Fridays, and on this particular day, we hit the massive Sunday holiday traffic coming home, along with an accident, so it takes us 3 hours to get home instead of 75 minutes. (0-11) Plus we got spanked in the Speed Ventures Radical Challenge, making it 0-12. And then we lost money playing blackjack in Pahrump(0-13), and then at the State Line (0-14). The battery in my Toyota MR2 and the F355 both die. (0-15, 0-16). I just need need one little victory to change my luck and get out of this downward spiral. In late September, our softball team was 5-0 at the halfway mark. It was looking like our first C3 Coed Softball championship. Then we went 1-4 our next five games. (let's call that 0-17). We ended up in third place. Damn. I had my worse batting average ever. I didn't even have the heart to compile the statistics. I probably hit below .600 for the first time in ten seasons.
Nice looking White Evo
Autowave finally gets the motor for the S2000 back from the machine shop. They put the rest of it together, and start to put it in the car. But my pressure plate, flywheel, and clutch are toasted from when the engine blew up, so they said I need to replace these parts. Damn, this sucks. Make that 0-18. My repair bill has now passed the five figure mark. Some people tell me I should just throw a used S2000 powertrain from a wrecked S2000 into my car for 4000 bucks and be done with it. The problem with that it seems like my car had valve retainers that failed, thus dropping the valve into the piston, causing the failure. This indicates over revving, (which I emphatically did NOT do on that day at Thunderhill back in Februrary). Which leads me to think that if you put a used motor into an S2000, and perhaps at one time or another the owner overrevved and weakened the motor, and then if I put it in my car and subject it to the stresses of taking it to the track, that used motor could blow up also, and I would be in the same boat. Putting a new motor into the car means that I know everything that has happened and will happen to the motor, so I'm thinking it is good for another 30,000 miles, and maybe after 15,000-20,000 miles I'll have Autowave check the valve retainers and springs to make sure they are not wearing abnormally.
I finally take delivery of the car, and the motor is purring smoothly and softly. Nice, very nice. It idles smoother than a stock motor. Autowave put in stronger valve retainers and springs to ensure reliability. I have to put on 500 easy break in miles also, which is hard to do with a 19 month old baby at home. So I get Wayne's nephew and his friend Michael to drive aimlessly on the freeway between Huntington Beach and Camp Pendleton so I don't have to do it. It's ffing cold (40's at night), and the motor is still burning off oil that was all over the car from the motor blowing up, and from the engine install. So you have to drive around with the top down. I equip my test drivers with the Rocky and Bullwinkle hats, and send them off, telling them not to rev above 6000 RPMS. When Dana drove the S2000 on his test run, he somehow missed the Camp Pendleton off ramp, and ended up in San Diego by the 5/805 split before he realized that he may have gone a little too far. It ain't easy to miss one of the largest military bases on the west coast.....
If I can get the break in miles on the car in time, I can take it to the Speed Ventures event at the Streets of Willow. Better yet, if I can get Messley and Autowave to put the new clutch in the NSX, I can do a quick test day with the NSX at the same time. Wayne decides that he will take his car to the Speed Ventures event as long as the dyno says he isn't running lean. After his break in miles are completed, he heads over to XS Engineering, and has them run the car on their four wheel dyno. It is running lean. So now, he has to do some type of fuel management. XS is pushing the Apexi product, other people are pushing the AEM, etc, but Wayne doesn't have the cash to buy a new one. Wayne goes on Ebay, checks BBSs, etc, and finds someone selling a used Apexi controller for an Evo. He's buys just about everything used....
Robi's car has been whupping on other Evos at Speed Ventures events
So Wayne calls XS, tells them he's trying to save a little money and found one used. They said drop it off first thing in the morning, and they will put it on. Wayne blasts over there in the 360, and promptly gets a ticket 400 yards from our shop via radar. He didn't plug in the Valentine radar detector. Doh! He heads over to XS, and pulls up in the 360 after claiming poverty the night before. XS calls Autowave, and says, "Who is this guy that bitches about having no money to fix his Evo, and then he pulls up in a 360 Modena with Challenge BBS wheels on it? WTF?"
It's alive again!
So XS tunes the car, we pick it up, and I drive it back to Wayne's house (since he had the 360 with him). I go about four stop lights and there is something flashing on the dash at high RPMs, but it flashes so quickly I can't read it. I mention it to Wayne. The next morning, same thing happens to him, so he calls XS, and they said it must be the engine still running a little lean, and that is the check engine light that blinks subliminally at you. They retard the timing a little more, and pronounce it ready for the track.
Hanging out in the pit area
Meanwhile, the slave boys (I mean the Pulp Racing Test Drivers) have helped me put 500 easy miles on the car. We put the car on the Autowave dyno, and Mike starts checking it out and tuning the car. A/F ratio looks good, and Autowave pronounces that the car is ready for the track. It is putting out 214 HP at the rear wheels(good for a stockish S2000), and Autowave feels that is is a reliable 214 that will withstand the rigors of the track. They also try to get me to buy an AEM, cams, and headers to boost up the power, but I tell them after spending $10,000 ffing dollars to get the S2000 moving on its own power, it will be a while until I have any cash for go-fast mods. They wanted me to build the motor up like the old PMUM S2000 that is pumping out 394 HP, but I don't have another $20,000 to put into the motor. I try to get Messley to do a quick alignment on the S2000, but he is behind on his schedule, and I didn't want to be at his shop until midnight before the event, so I blow off the alignment. When replacing the S2000 motor, you don't have to screw with any suspension/alignment points, so it should be just as good as before. I take the car on the Beach Boulvard clover leaf freeway on ramps that evening, and I do about 10 around trips through all on/off ramps (so I basically go on freeway for 400 feet, then get on the off ramp, go 400 feet, get on the on/ramp going the opposite way, go 400 feet, get on the off ramp, etc, repeat 10 times.) Car feels pretty good, suspension feels a little soft with the street tires on it, but I haven't driven the car in 9 months, so I can't remember what it is supposed to feel like.
The Pulp Racing Test Drivers. Would you trust your break in miles to these guys?
Messley is having problems procuring parts for the super-duper clutch setup on the NSX. It is this AP clutch with a specially lightened flywheel, but AP doesn't sell the clutch parts in the US, you have to go through England, and they are a pain in the ass. So Messley's machining parts, as he doesn't want to trash that lightened flywheel (that he uh..custom machined last year). I'm thinking of throwing in the towel on the clutch, and just buying an Exedy clutch, which a few years back I ran for 20 events before it broke. The NSX won't be ready for this weekend. (0-19) Anyways, it looks like for the first time in 10 months, both the Evo and the S2000 will be at the track for the first time! But just to be sure.......we decide to trailer both cars up to the Streets of Willow, just in case we are still on a losing streak....
Autowave runs the EFI University classes at their shop. Your tuner may have studied here!
714-841-2433 if you want you car turned!
Jason decides to drive up with us to the Streets so he can monitor Wayne's use (abuse) of the newly built motor. Michael also says he has the day off, and comes out and helps us out.
A historic day. The S2000 and the Evo at the track and running!
We leave the shop at 4:00 a.m., and head up to the Speed Ventures event. We plan to go for only Saturday, as we just want to test the motors at the track.
We make a stop at the McDonald's by Willow Springs, and then pull into the track about 6:45 a.m. It is clear outside, but about 26 degrees. There are probably 25+ Evos entered in the event, many of them entered in the Evo "Tuner Class", which are the tuner guys that are duking it out for fast lap bragging rights. Wayne is entered in the Red Group (not the Tuner Class) along with my S2000, since we don’t have any “tuner sponsorship”, and we are just testing the car out. Wayne didn’t bring any race tires, as he hasn’t installed a baffled oil pan yet. No use taking a chance at pulling too many g’s and breaking the motor at the first event.
Back on the track for the first time since April!
Picture by Jason Trumpio
Wayne goes out in the first run group with shaved Sumitomos that were left over from the OTC. (remember, his car blew up the first day of the OTC). He said that they are extremely slippery. Hummm. Maybe they are old? Maybe they need to be heat cycled again? Weird. I go out on some used Hoosiers (from back when the S2000 blew up), and with Michael as a passenger, I run a 1:32 in my first session back on the track! Wayne meets a Evo owner at the track who said he has blown through five transfer cases, and he keeps a couple of used spare ones at his house just in case!
Mike is the engine tuner at Autowave. Certified in Motec, AEM, and Hondata
The next session, Wayne throws on the stock Yokohama Advan tires, and he said the car feels much better. I run without a passenger, and I run a 1:28.9! Alright, the car is working good, I’m ready to pack it up and go home! The front tires are scraping against the fender wells. I figure that is probably because I had Messley set the car up for the slightly thinner Sumitomo tires back at OTC 2003, and the car might be lowered a bit. Anyways, I stop by Aaron to look at the AMB printout, and none of my Hot Lap times correlate to the AMB printout. Aaron has me two seconds slower on the AMB computer. Huh? I check the transponder serial number, and that is correct, so I am entered in to the AMB computer correctly. Wayne’s Hot Lap seems to be working fine, and correlates with the AMB. I noticed that I am not using the usual Hot Lap receiver that I use with the S2000, but that shouldn’t be an issue. Bitterman says that sometimes in the morning, the Hot Laps work kinda wacky. Maybe because it is 30 ffing degrees outside and the battery isn’t generating enough power for the timer?
Trying to figure out why my front tires are scraping the inside fender
In the next session, the Hot Lap says I ran a 1:29, but Aaron’s stuff say I ran a 1:30.x Now I’m losing my ffing mind. If I can run a 1:28/1:29, I’m flying around the track. If it is a 1:30/1:32, it is good, but not great. Then all of a sudden I have a revelation. My hot lap timer receiver isn’t “securely” mounted to the car, it kinda bounces around a little bit. I noticed that in comparison with the AMB times, one lap is faster, and then the next lap is slower, and the next lap is faster, etc. I look around the pit wall….sure enough some IDIOT put a second hot lap beacon out there, and he didn’t put it by the start/finish line, it is about 2 seconds away from start finish. And it probably is about 60 feet from where a car passes by it. So I guess that sometimes when I bounced in off the skidpad, sometimes it would pickup the first Hot Lap beacon, and the ignore the one two seconds farther down the straight away, and then the next time down, it would miss the first one, but pick up the second one. This would explain why my laps are sometimes two seconds shorter than the AMB, and sometimes two seconds longer than the AMB. It would pickup the Hot Lap beacon at Start/Finish, and then coming around the track, it would get the signal from the other beacon that was 2 seconds closer to start finish and click off a fast lap for me.
John Morris from Radical West brought his Stohr over to the Streets of Willow for half a session, and clocked a 1:19!
Robi wins the Evo Challenge with a blazing 1:24 at the Streets of Willow
Wayne gets his car into the 1:31.x, which isn’t bad running on street tires. I am running 1:30.x according to the AMB, which I guess isn’t bad considering the car seems to be setup for the Sumitomo tires. I stop by the big track to talk to the TCRA guys. Their race group looks like a lot of fun. Vipers, Porsches, Mark Allen’s nicely done up NSX, etc. Damn, I wish the Flamemobile was running. The TCRA guys are ragging on us for being on the “Little Track”, instead of Big Willow. They said if we want to run our cars in the green group, we can come out for the 3:00 p.m. session and blast around the track. We take them up on that, and bring along Craig Oka, who has driven the big track with his Viper, but not his S2000. I grid up behind Wayne, and after kicking his ass at the Streets, he pulls out a few car lengths each lap on my S2000 on the big track. The S2000 is diving a little too much in Turn 2, so I definitely have to have Messley re-check the suspension. I can’t go flat through turn 8, which should be a no-brainer. We watch the start of the big boy race, and a White Viper is leading, running 1:28's. Damn.....I could be on pole if the NSX was ready. TCRA guys said I could run the S2000 in their 2.5 liter and below race group at 4:00 p.m., but something isn't quite right with the suspension, so I decline until I can get that sorted out.
Wayne next to Jason the Engine Builder!
After the event, I drop the car off at Messley's to have him check the rubbing of the tires, and because the steering wheel is slightly off. He calls me later, saying that uh.....I had zero pressure in right front Penske shock, and all the others were way low. They are supposed to have uh...225 lbs of nitrogen pressure in them. He said it probably handled like crap. No wonder the car was scraping the fender wells. No wonder I couldn't run a 1:28.......damn.....I toasted the Hoosiers that day also. Oh well. And is shows again that I am a moron when it comes to suspension setup, as I couldn't detect that the shock pressures were non-existent. (But hey, the car seemed to turn in pretty good to me!) But at least the Bad Luck Streak has ended. Both the Evo and the S2000 went to the track, ran about 6 sessions each, didn't break, didn't use any oil, etc. We are back on the road! We proclaim Jason and Autowave as engine geniuses! More importantly the losing streak is now officially over! We are only one clutch away from having all the vehicles (Evo, S2000, NSX, F355, 360, four Tony karts) fully operational for the first time probably this decade!
Here's the tech from Jason as to what was done to beef up Wayne's motor for reliability:
The failure was really a combination of things in my eyes. One, an insufficient oiling system. Two, a dirty build from the factory. And three, a horrible tune. Wayne’s engine is a stock seasoned block with a stock crank. The stock crank is a decent piece of hardware and I really didn’t see a need to switch to a billet crank. My goal was keeping costs low while still allowing room to play. I called my friend Luke at DSMotosport (908-362-5532) in New Jersey, and he hooked us up with forged Eagle H-beams for a 92 Eclipse with .912 pins. We also used Clevite rod bearings while using factory Mitsubishi main bearings.
Picture by Jason Trumpio
Since the factory piston skirts were worn so badly from all of the foreign material floating around, I called up Arias and ordered some custom .020” oversized forged 4032 alloy pistons (stock compression), which between the pistons and rods cut 1400 grams off the rotating assembly (about 3 pounds). This reduction in weight not only allowed us to increase the rev capability, it also reduced parasitic loss from a heavy stock rotating assembly. The lighter rotating assembly should allow the engine to rev faster as well. We could have gone with 2618 alloy pistons (stronger) but they expand with heat and aren’t thermally stable like the 4032 pistons. This allowed us to run the pistons very tight so that the rings are supported properly (which makes them seal properly), which also eliminates piston slap. 2618 pistons would have made Wayne’s engine as loud as the PowerStroke diesel in the Pulp truck. It also would have an expected life of less than 20,000 street driven miles. The 4032 should last over 100,000 miles on a near-stock configuration like Wayne has now. The stock oil jets for cooling the piston crowns were modified slightly to increase skirt lubrication with less oil flow.
Picture by Jason Trumpio
To further reduce the amount of mass the engine had to sling around, we removed the factory balance shafts, which are put in place to reduce vibrations at and off idle. I took a gamble on this compromise hoping that it wouldn’t be an obnoxious change that would make Wayne hate his daily driver. I’m familiar with that after installing a cup suspension kit on a luxury car I daily drive…. For Wayne it was definitely worth it, as there is no real noticeable increase in NVH. I doubt he would have complained anyway ;) The Audi on the other hand - just don’t try to sip coffee while the car’s moving. We were also able to direct the oil flow from the now-absent balance shaft journals to the mains, so we had more oil volume to work with which would help us in our quest for the race-ready lubrication system.
Picture by Jason Trumpio
All of the machine work was done by my friend Bob Small (Bob Small’s Automotive Machine – 949-492-0300). Bob has always done great work for me in the past. I knew that porting Wayne’s head would net some pretty impressive power when coupled with some other mods he might choose to do down the line. Bob ported the head and exhaust manifold by hand. The stock valves and guides were junked, in favor of Ferrea stainless valves and custom bronze-manganese guides. At this point the guides were also manufactured and installed in such a way that will allow Wayne to run a big rowdy set of cams if he so desires. For the sake of getting Wayne back on the road, we re-used the stock valvesprings which we will change when we change the cams. At the time, the HKS cams were backordered. The fasteners were ARP for the main and head studs. All of the seals, the oil pump, and various other gaskets were OEM parts.
I sourced most of the OEM parts from Howard at Mentor Mitsubishi (1-877-44-MITSU / www.mentormitsubishi.com).
Picture by Jason Trumpio
The 500 mile old engine did very well the first day out at Willow. After being tuned by XS, it put 294 to the wheels with reduced boost. I feel that with another $1500-$2500 in mods, that we should be able to get 400 or more to the wheels – safely. This would be achieved with a cam swap, some intake work, a bigger fuel system, more boost, more RPM (8000-8500) a bigger intercooler, and some work on the factory intake. The factory cooling system will probably need some help too and I’m not sure how far that stock turbo will go. There are some other unmentionable modifications which we consider “secret”, but overall this solution should get any Evo owner off the ground and back in business if they suffer a failure like Wayne’s car did. We plan on getting an accusump installed this week to offer some additional protection when Wayne is running flat out on the big sweeper at California Speedway this coming weekend. In the future I’d also like to modify the stock oil pan with some trick kick-outs and a trap door system to keep oil around the sump. In a perfect world, I would have liked to do a dry-sump setup, but that would have cost more than the engine itself. In the meantime we’ll continue overfilling with Mobil 1 15w50 (1/4 inch past the full mark on the stock dipstick) and dry-sump can stay in the 360...
Picture by Jason Trumpio
Overall, there were only a few setbacks including main bearing fitment and ARP shipping us 2 nuts with no threads. The tuning went well after Wayne was able to source a computer that piggybacked the stock computer. Once we get the rest of the package together Wayne will only have to worry about the decision to tear the interior apart for a cage so he can run with the race group.
Anybody who has any questions can contact me at my soon to be (re?)released website at http://www.trumpio.com/
The new Evo Motor
Stuff on the Horizon
California Speedway with Speed Ventures on Friday, December 17th.
This event is sold out. In the red group, it is rumored to have the following cars entered:
Also, rumor has it that the JGTC guys will be practicing for an hour during the Speed Ventures lunch, and and after the event. They are getting their practice in before their big event the next day. So in theory, you could see all the JGTC cars up close and personal before the thousands of people get there on Saturday.
The big boys from Japan are coming into town
GT Live, the JGTC event, will be on
Saturday and Sunday December 18/19.
I am supposed to be helping TCRA give "Demo Rides" on the infield track on Saturday to fans that win a drawing. It sounds like various NASA/TCRA cars will be doing these "Demo rides" between the JGTC qualifying/race.
I'll explain in the next chapter why I didn't enter the Flamemobile as a "guest entry" into the JGTC Event. Let's just say that the JGTC cars maybe some of the fastest GT cars on the planet, and I'm afraid that the Flamemobile can't quite hang with the boys yet......until I hit the lotto!
Get those shifter karts ready for 2005!
Revolutionary New SKUSA Regional Series for Shifter Karts in
Another rumor is that Tom from Extreme Karting, Greg Smith (the old guy that keeps kicking our ass), and others are building up excitement for a new regional shifter kart series. They are working on giving us more seat time, ladder to national events, websites hosting the latest results/laptimes, etc. In other words, stuff that no one else is doing for us weekend warriors. They are trying to capture the excitement of the Supernationals at the regional level. First race could be at Moran January 29th! Start practicing now!
Start getting your team ready to become the Kings of your Class!
It's gonna be August. Five tracks, Reno-Thunderhill-Big Willow-BW-BW CCW. More stuff coming real soon. You got 8 months to raise your driving skill level!
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