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"Swamp thing" JBC enduro car!


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Last Thursday I found a tail light at Franks




He's got allot more parts if anyone is in need...


Then Friday we had another productive work party.  Paul came buy to lend a hand as well!  All hands on deck, we wanted to get this thing moving under it's own power by the end of the night.


I started with mounting the fenders and cutting in the left front fender flare:




Sam got the new taillight mounted




Jeff was bleeding the brakes with help from his sister on the pedal




And Paul was working on the front valance and new air dam with more help from Sam




Getting close!  Sam installed the seat and then he and Jeff worked on the front sway bar while Paul and I installed the grill and headlight surrounds.




^^That's the same grill we were running before.  Took some doin' but we straightened it out pretty nice.


Time to get this thing off the jacks!




And up in the air to figure out what we are going to do about the exhaust




A couple crow bar tugs got it off the drive line so we could at least go for a test drive.  We decided the rest is too messed up for the time available and we'll have to take it to a shop to fix it up for us.


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Sam at the wheel, test drive time!






He returned less than impressed.




Subsequent drives by Jeff and I confirmed something isn't right.  No power.  Where did it go?




Back into the garage then to investigate.  First assumption was ignition/timing related.




We considered everything including the potential of the timing chain jumping a tooth.  We swapped plug wires, hooked up the timing light, adjusted the distributor (we appeared to be 15 degrees off), but didn't find the conclusive answer.


It was awfully late at this point and I had to leave early the next morning for a 2 hour drive to pick up a backup 510 race car shell in Ellensburg, but the boys stayed late into the night, worked with the timing some more following the complete adjustment procedure and Sam drove the car again and reported the power was back where it was pre crash. 


Looks like we will be racing this weekend!


We did break a motor mount and distributor cap so something in that hit was enough to move the distributor apparently.  We know how much it moved the rest of the car - and the Jersey barriers!


Did I mention I moved two of them far enough out of position they needed to bring out the crane to re-set them?  They are 4,000lb each!  Between those moving and the car deforming, the vast majority of the energy from this crash was dissipated and I felt no pain - except for all the long days afterward putting the car back together.  I've been watching allot of old racing movies from the 30's and 40's.  Safety has come a LONG way and I am very grateful for every single step.


Just a few things left on the list...




Edited by carterb
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One more night of finishing touches...


New hood and hood pins in place




Alignment checked and adjusted.


GoPro cam sticker in place!  : )




One last test drive and then loading it up on the Dilly to take to the exhaust shop the next morning










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Sam came up with this great idea to get up at 4:30am and drive to Shelton early Friday morning to do the track day before the race.


After the driver's meeting, we learned that we would be running in group 3 - mostly with other Luckydog and other race cars.  Sounds good because there were some SERIOUS track day weapons in the other run groups. 


While group 1 and 2 were running, we had some time to look over the car one last time.




Sam ran first and returned with a positive report.


Jeff was next.






Off you go then...




Unfortunately, he was soon back - limping into the pits with some pretty serious ignition problems.


We examined a number of things and found we had no spark.  Car wouldn't even start now.  At one point we even wired in the coil from my 620 but ultimately found that the problem was in the distributor itself.




Sam found some plastic from the old broken distributor cap wedged between the optical sensor and pick-up wheel.


The back of the wheel was actually coated in melted plastic and some of the holes in the wheel were obscured.  I was able to peel away the plastic and clean it up okay.  We put the distributor back together and it fired right up.


After nearly an hour it was group 3's turn again so Jeff went out again and had a successful 20 minute run.


Then it was lunch time.






After lunch, I got in a 20 minute run as well and then it was Sam's turn again.








Unfortunately after a couple laps, we heard Sam sputtering down the front straight and the session was stopped soon after.  He'd lost spark again and had to be towed back to the pits.  Something that doesn't happen at light speed during a track day - sorry to the other guys on track that lost session time.

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At this point, we determined that it this issue was not likely to go away and we had allot of racing to come.  So we weighed our options and found that the best way forward was for me to call my son Corey and have him pull the distributor out of his SR20DE (still sitting on a pallet waiting for us to finish his build) at work in Mukilteo.  My wife would head North from Lynnwood to pick it up while I left the track and headed North as well to meet her wherever it proved convenient.  After grabbing my timing light and the distributor, she headed South and about an hour and a half later - we met up in Fife.  Traffic was awful and and my 620 was barely running but I had the parts in hand and headed South.  (Thanks Brenda, Corey, and Wyatt!)


The track day was over by the time I returned to the track almost 2 hours later but our car had made it through tech for the race and we had plenty of daylight to make the exchange. 






by 8pm, we were back in business with an undamaged distributor and a timed - running motor.




SO glad we did the track day!!!!  Otherwise this all would have been dealt with during the race.  Good call Sam!


Now I hope I can still get to my parents house in the barely running 620...

Edited by carterb
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10 hours ago, carterb said:



Now I hope I can still get to my parents house in the barely running 620...



This takes me back to college lol

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Well I got there but the next morning it wouldn't start...  Uh oh!


Finally it did and got me to Walmart to get SD cards for the GoPro and ice for the cooler.  Barely started again then died.  Was going to get new spark plugs at the auto parts store across the street but no way - not going to risk it.  Have to get to the track.  I think I'm only running on 2 cylinders at this point.  Not cool...


I park and find the guys - who camped at the track - in a tent - on top of the Dilly!  : )


We get the car ready to go and formulate a plan to leave one driver in the car for the duration of practice/qualifying so we could get more than 20 continuous minutes on the motor in case the distributor swap was a red herring and there is some other heat soak issue.


Jeff went out to the grid.








Here is a video of the roll-out so you can see most of our competition:




And got 10-15 minutes of running in before...


Wait for it...




One of the pit volunteers came and told me our car was being called in for "leaking fluid - again".  Again?!  Hey, that hurts!  We've never leaded fluid before (that we know of).


Jeff rolls in and we go to work trying to figure out what's going on.


Jeff and Sam look around the engine and I look under the rear.  The entire diff cover is soaking wet and dripping.  But just barely dripping.  We were told we were leaking a "substantial" amount of fluid.  Hmmm....  We discuss some more and conclude that the fluid was fuel coming from the oversize vent we installed at the end of last season to help us fuel faster.  Fortunately, we still had the plug we had removed so back in it went.




We were VERY thankful to have discovered that in qualifying - BEFORE the race!


Anything else now????




Edited by carterb
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The start got a little exciting right away!




3 cars off in turn 1 - right in front of Sam!  Once the mess was cleared up, Sam began putting in hot laps right away and we were rewarded by being thrown in the B class.  There were a few of us in this position (C class cars being bumped up to B class) and some of the teams were NOT happy.  We were pretty indifferent and actually took it as a complement - though it meant there was NO WAY we would be fighting for a podium of any kind.  The cars at the sharp end of the B class are 6 seconds/lap fastener than us.  Oh well.  We were just happy to be racing.












So funny to see Sam in front of the white BMW in these shots.  They are becoming our nemisis.  That is the team we beat at ORP last year.  The cars were glued together lap after lap then and again this weekend.






We ran well all day - no issues - no contact - no spins - no trouble. 


After the 7 hour race there were a pair of 45 minute sprints which we ran as well.  Each race required 1 driver change but no fueling.  That was a fun challenge we hadn't done before.  Kind of exciting getting in and out of the car and belted up as quick as possible while the clock is ticking. 


Racing in B class meant no awards in the sprints either but really - our greatest reward was finishing the day with a running car.  Can't wait to share some GoPro footage.



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We still had another day to go!


Meanwhile however - I had to figure out what was going on with my truck.  So during one of the other guy's stints I had a look with the hood up and ultimately discovered that I had fuel coming out the overflow from the carbs.  I was able to determine that the rear carb float had taken on fuel and had sunk.  So that carb was running full rich and had fouled the plugs so bad they didn't fire any more.  Plus there was the issue with pumping gas directly from my tank to the ground below. 


It seems there was some corrosion along the bottom seam in the copper float which had created a path for fuel to get in.  I was able to scrape off the solder plug from the hole in the top of the float, puncture it, remove all the gas trapped inside, re-solder it closed, and then seal the corroded seam and new plug with honda-bond (for good measure).


After the racing, the boys took me into town to get a new set of spark plugs.  The O'Reilys guy says "we have Bosch tripple spark premium plugs for $14 each" or something like that.  Please, I just want basic copper plugs.  NGK if possible.  But nothing fancy.  No tiny electrode-multi-prong-whatevers.  He just looked at me funny.  He'd never heard of a copper plug.  I grabbed the cheapest set they had - which was still some fancy platinum type - as insurance and then we headed to Cut Rate Auto Parts.


I grew up in Shelton and when I was a kid, C.R.A.P. had the best window display ever!  A tiny little tube frame hot rod with a toilet mounted behind a small block V8.  "Powered by C.R.A.P." was their slogan. 




Genius!  : )


Anyone have a picture of that "hot rod"?


Anyway, after repeating the same request - the kid behind the counter says "we have Bosch tripple spark premium plugs..."  Are these guys getting paid to say this?!  No thank, you...  Any NGK's?  Yes!  One set!


Back to the track we went, spark plugs in hand and float sealant now dry, I re-assembled the truck at sunset - counting my good fortune not to have dropped one of the SU float bowl lids or gasket in the gravel below - and it started right up and purred like a kitten.  Well, like a Datsun anyway...


Now we have two running vehicles to be thankful for!


I couldn't wait to see what Sunday would bring.

Edited by carterb
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Sunday started normal enough - and so did my truck!  That's a win already!  : )


Drove to the track to find the car up on jack-stands.  While I was fixing the 620 last night, Jeff and Sam had started to undertake a front brake swap on the Swamp Thing, we didn't feel we had enough pad material to last another 7 hour race day.




They left it on stands so we could check over the car in daylight.


Once that job was done, there was nothing to do but watch the clock and wait to go racing!




The car was ready.




Really ready!




Really really ready!




And so were we!

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Jeff went first Sunday and we were pleased to find that us and 2 others were dropped back to C class.  We were well placed after his stint.  I went second and even though I spent almost the entire time stuck behind an RX7, we didn't loose any positions and so were 1st or 2nd when I came to the pits. 


When I got back I reported that it felt like we were losing the synchro in 4th.  The boys both nodded in agreement.  Apparently it was like that when I got in the car.  ; )  Thanks for the head's up.  Trying to keep a tranny together while going door to door with a bunch of angry race cars definitely holds your attention.


Sam was third stint and Jeff and I were getting excited.  Then there was a red flag as the orange Golf car had caught fire out on the track.


Hard to see from this shot but the back of the car was burned out around the fuel cell!  Must have been exciting.  Glad no one was hurt.




Jeff and I watched from the bottom of the hill as the track went green again.




We were racing the white and orange CRX, the white BMW, and a few others.  None of of separated by much time or laps at this point.


Every time something would happen on the back side of the course and Sam would not appear at the top of the hill when we expected him we'd be like "oh crap, the tranny must have let go!"  Definitely added to the level of excitement!


Edited by carterb
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Sam came in on the back half of another full course yellow and handed the car over to Jeff for the final stint.


We went back to the hill to watch the battle.




















So much fun!


Did I ever tell you guys about all the awesome jewelry we get on a typical racing weekend?




: )



Edited by carterb
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With about 30 minutes left in the race.  Jeff was third behind the white BMW and the White and Orange CRX.  The BMW was two laps up but the CRX was right in Jeff's sights.




Much like Jeff did to Sam at ORP, we stood at the wall outside the turn jumping up and down waving our arms every time Jeff went past - hoping he would get the point that we would be rewarded with a move forward.




Our arms were getting tired!  Come on Jeff!


Then after 10 laps or so, they came over the hill and the places were swapped!






Yes!!!!!  2nd place now!


(It turns out that on that lap, likely due to pressure from behind, the CRX miss-handled a passing attempt on another car and made contact with them - a mistake that carries a penalty in this series - so not only was he passed by Jeff after the fact - he (and the other car) had to exit the track and see the stewards.  The CRX got a 5 minute penalty - I don't remember if they kept their 3rd place podium spot or not)


Just a few laps later, checkered flag!!!!










Here is a video most of the cars coming down the front straight for the last time.




There were only about 25 cars still on track at the end of Sunday after 60+ had started Saturday morning.  That's endurance racing for you.  Which makes just finishing a real accomplishment.  Placing is really icing on the cake!

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Here is Jeff rolling into the pits - behind the 457 BMW which took first in C class.












He said after getting out he had nothing left.




Ah, but the spoils!






That's Jeff airborn in this shot.  I thought he said he had nothing left!














We actually have to save just a little bit of energy because the final reward for a weekend like this is packing up the pits, loading all the tools and equipment, loading the car on the trailer, and getting behind the wheel again for another 2 hours for the drive home!  What a weekend!


The boys gave me a co-pilot for my drive home in Bruiser.





Edited by carterb
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The only thing better than still having a running racecar on the end of a Sunday afternoon is making the trip home without incident.




I had to get a shot of the car near HWY 510 of course.












We are compiling GoPro footage which we will be sharing soon.  Stay tuned.


In the mean time, we need to see some pics and words from Jeff and Sam don't we?

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