3 Dec 2017

Two steps forwards, one step back.

The tuning changes made a large and positive difference in power delivery. The tuner also changed the idle control, deceleration settings, and wall-wetting (compensation for fuel that ends up on the walls of the intake instead of the cylinders) along with many other things. Unfortunately I was itching to beat LA’s rush-hour traffic and declined his offer of a test drive… I should have done so. Now I get to do it myself via trial and error like before. I’m hoping I can reuse some settings from earlier tunes to save time – fingers crossed.

Before that was started though, the intercooler was removed, inspected, and cleaned. There was surprisingly little oil in it, with practically none at the outlet end and zero at the throttle plate. It “may” have been pushed through by the later dyno pulls, but it still raises two unpleasant questions:

  1. Where did all the smoke come from?
  2. Why didn’t the car start?

I think much of the oil likely flowed past the turbo seals (due to the theorized blocked drain line) and into the turbine housing. The housing was still hot  from the previous pull, which reminds me of something. While it was smoking like crazy and yet not starting, as soon as he’d stop cranking the engine, about 2 seconds later, there’d be a soft “pop”, and an extra puff of smoke would come out the tailpipe. I’m guessing it was engine oil/gas lighting off in the hot turbine housing. This happened 3-4 times and always after he stopped cranking, so there was definitely oil pooled in the turbine housing, so, I think this part of the mystery is solved.

The second question is harder since oil in the turbine section shouldn’t affect whether the engine starts or not. The tuner confirmed that it eventually started on its own, he didn’t touch the tune. Problems that just go away… ugh.

Anyhow, the next thing to solve is how engine speed takes a nosedive when barely engaging the clutch (like leaving from a standstill). It may well be insufficient wall-wetting. We’ll see.

In other news – don’t remember if I mentioned it – earlier this year my brother got fed up with his GoPro, replacing it with a Sony action-cam. I can’t say enough good things about it, and it’s mostly because the Sony, well, it just works – every time. I’m sympathetic; my GoPro 4 (with the latest firmware) still had demon-possessed moments. Starting a second video by itself, resetting itself, and my favorite, acting exactly as if it’s bricked, then works days later like nothing was ever wrong. I have to give GoPro’s Marketing Dept props for still selling even with pissed-off owners. Point being, if you’re looking for an action cam for Christmas, consider the Sony. Here’s my brother’s Virginia City Hill Climb video recorded with it, which has both mechanical and electronic stabilization – it shows.