27 April

For the intercooler end tanks, the plan was to use 4″ OD tubing, cutting it lengthwise to fit the tank ends, but there was nothing available locally. The plan then changed to bending sheet aluminum into a cylindrical shape but due to the thick material, bending it went poorly. I’ll see if I can borrow the use of a slip-roller to create the proper curves, instead of making something looking like someone beat them with a hammer.

With that set aside, attention turned to fabricating the exhaust (part of the ongoing plan to get as much done as possible while the cylinder head is still on hand positioning the turbo). Got the main tubing tacked together about the time one argon tank became empty, which is why it’s good to have two – unless of course that one was empty as well. Oops.

Okay fine, on to Plan C. The dry sump tank was very dirty and suspected of containing FOD from the engine drama (the term seems to have two definitions, “Foreign Object Damage” and “Foreign Object Debris”). There was a fair amount of aluminum flakes in the tank; who knows what else was in there as well.

About then, home stuff intruded, playing IT tech on my wife’s PC, along with replacing a leaking natural gas valve behind the kitchen stove!

In other news, about the time ads were added to the website, an odd issue started happening, where a connection couldn’t be made to midlana.com, kimini.com, or the forum. Any other PC worked fine, and it could be accessed via phone, but only when WIFI was disabled. Spent an hour on the phone with the ISP, tracing the problem to the router. The ISP also mentioned in passing that I had an old router that it was throttling data and should be updated, though that wasn’t the direct cause of my issue. Anyhow, I went ahead and replaced the router and presto, everything started working again, probably because Goggle ads contain something that the old router couldn’t handle. Strange, especially since the forums don’t have any ads…

Lastly, a new Midlana site is in the works. It’ll contain all the same information as now with a much cleaner interface. It’ll have additional information about the car by topic, delving into some of the particulars for people wondering whether Midlana is for them (of course it is!). I realize that navigating huge build blogs trying to find something in particular isn’t easy. It’ll take months to set up and get running, and I dread what it’ll take to transfer over all the diary text and pictures, but so it goes. In the meantime, the current present site will stay up to date right up to the switch-over.

17 April

The re-designed intercooler placement takes shape. New end tanks have to be made, both because there’s not enough space for the previous ones, and as my buddy Alan reminded me, with around 20 psi boost pressure, that ends up being hundreds of pounds of force. Given a chance, that force would flex any flat-sided tank, work-harden the welds and cause them to crack; the new tanks will be cylindrical to avoid that. After taking these pictures, I changed the tube routing on the inlet side. As shown, the flow would have had to take a very tight 90-degree turn right out of the compressor, which is terrible for flow. The turbo outlet will be rotated to point downward and the flow will instead be fed through two large-radius 90-degree bends feeding into the center of the end tank from below. It’s also cheaper because the U-bends are already on-hand.

What will be decided later is where to get the cooling air from. Which approach to take will be determined with some test drives, string on sticks to determine flow direction, and clear U-shaped water-filled tubes serving as manometers to determine relative pressure. Regardless where it comes from it sure is going to change the appearance of the car – so be it.

The new engine is slowly coming together; shown is a coated piston. This week, the pistons, pins, and rods will be sent to ERL where the block will be honed and the short assembly clearanced and balanced. After that it’s back to the engine builder to add the inspected cylinder head and then we’ll be back in business. Reminds me that I need to send the head and various parts to the engine builder pretty soon so that I’m not holding up anything.

In other news, as seen from above, the driver’s right-hand shoulder belt bracket was found misaligned but wasn’t loose – I didn’t set it that way. Seems the spin at Willow may have been more forceful than I thought and with the car spinning to the right and catching the dirt bank, I apparently tried to keep going toward the left. It’s crossed my mind a few times that the HANS may well have prevented some serious neck injury.

13 April

Well nuts; I may be completely wrong about this and have to step back.

After discussing intercooler placement with people smarter than me, there was pretty much one answer (unlike asking why the engine broke, but I digress). The consensus is that the proposed intercooler location isn’t going to work at all, with virtually no air flow through it. The discussion concluded with either scoops being added to the sides of the car, or better yet, an F1-style air intake snorkel. I’ve been resisting the latter for two reasons: it blocks rear visibility (which some people claim isn’t a big deal – until they try it), and the air riding up and over the windscreen may get thrown high enough that it completely misses the intake. Unfortunately though I think they’re right, and I feel bad that I caught myself just hoping that things would work out – that’s not good engineering.

There’s only a few places for such a large intercooler but one unexpected perk of having it where it’s shown is that the snorkel ends up directly behind me, out of the path of the mirror. Yeah I know I can add side mirrors and maybe I will, but if it works out without them, all the better. If the core ends up as shown, it means an entirely new engine cover is needed, maybe composite, maybe not, depending what kind of air boxes are out there. Another perk of going with a snorkel is that it can also feed the air filter. Lastly, if the core ends up there, it effectively eliminates about 3 feet of intake tubing.

Right now different positions are being tried out so for now end tank fabrication has been set aside in the interest of – surprise – thinking the design problem through first!

10 April

The turbo brace is finished; time will tell how well the (non-Teflon lined) rod end stands up to the turbo heat. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just support the weight of the header and turbo when the car hits bumps.

I found out why good intercoolers are so expensive. Cheap units have fins in only the cooling (air) passages, while high efficiency units such as Garrett have fins in both the cooling air path and the charge air path. While I’m all for cheap, it seems a bad idea to save some money up front but have higher intake air temperatures and possible knocking for the life of engine number 2..

Speaking of costs, you’ve by now see the ads. Long-term, I’m hoping that they’ll recoup some expenses associated with track events (and blown engines!). Probably should have done this a long time ago but I’m no different than you; I really dislike ads but this arrangement will be unobtrusive and there won’t be any pop-ups – promise. Plus, any advertisers that I have issues with will be “disappeared”, so I’m not completely selling out.

3 April

Odds and ends:

The new turbo manifold is done other than the support brace. Some people hang a 20-pound turbo on a manifold cantilevered off a vibrating block and wonder why the manifold cracks; hopefully the brace will eliminate that.

During disassembly, the knock sensor was found to be completely loose in its mount. Lovely…

The deburring wheel was replaced. These $60-100 wheels are expensive but are magic for what they do, one lasts about one car project 🙂

Instead of adapting the existing air filter box, a cylindrical air filter is mounted straight to the turbo inlet. Haven’t decided where it’ll get air from yet.

The water pump housing was removed since it’s going on the new block. A new water pump was ordered as a precaution since the age of the old one was unknown. With the housing off the block and on the bench I fixed the alignment of the alternator mount that was causing the belt to wipe laterally across the water pump pulley, rubbing off the anodizing. I figured if that was happening it wasn’t doing the belt any favors.

The rear engine mount doesn’t look good – this may well be the source of the clunking I was hearing getting on and off the gas. It appears that the inner steel bushing wore through the urethane, though I don’t understand how. The urethane will probably be replaced with Delrin; the stiffer material isn’t too big a deal since it’ll only see pressure (and transmit vibration) under acceleration.

The bottom third of the rear panel was cut out, not a huge loss since it was really beat up from the off at Willow Springs. The intercooler was mocked up more or less in position, where it’ll be stared at for a while in order to figure out how the puzzle is going to fit together. The idea is get air from under the car to flow through the intercooler and into the low pressure area behind the car – I just have no idea if that’s going to work. Theoretically there’s a low pressure area behind the car that can be used to pull air through the intercooler. On the other hand, the fast moving air under the car is at a low pressure as well and might be lower than the pressure behind the car. Because I don’t know which region has lower pressure, I can’t even say for sure which way the air’s going to want to flow through the core. Due to not knowing, space will be left for a radiator fan on the intercooler, sucking air in from under the car and blowing it out the back. A new lower panel or mesh will fill in around the intercooler.

Aluminum tubing U-bends will be ordered this week both for fabricating the intercooler end tanks and pointing the various hoses in the right directions.

Lastly, a good friend who’s roughly my same age retired this week. Aside from losing a parent, having someone my own age retiring hits me again regarding my own situation: how long will I live, where do I want to live, what do I want to do, how much do we need in order to be able to do that, and on and on and on. Anyway, I’m going to miss our conversations, Joe!