5 Oct 2014

The water/meth installation is complete and has been checked out as much as possible short of road testing. The flow meter is calibrated and works well – a few people having written that it’s saved then several times. The thing about water/meth is that it makes 91 octane fuel act like 110 octane race gas, where boost and timing can be cranked up to make crazy amounts of power – until the water/meth flow stops. Even with the flow monitor – which instantly has the ECU back off on boost – I just can’t bring myself to run things too close to the edge; boost will be increased but timing will be left alone. As a side note, during calibration of the flow meter, I was surprised how quickly it ran through a gallon of distilled water; I’m glad I made the tank large, 2.8 gallons.

With the turbo at the retailer for testing, other odds and ends were completed, one being to add a latch to the glove box. I always wondered how cops would react, after asking me for registration, to me getting out of the car, opening the front hatch, and opening a bag of “stuff” to retrieve it. Not wanting to get Tazed or shot, a functioning glove box is a much better place for registration papers. The other completed task was swapping in 30% stiffer suspension springs. Still left to do in that department is heating up and bending the suspension arms to free up room for stronger steering tie rod ends. However, the current Santa Ana winds and temperature make being in the garage no fun at all, in spite of the “but it’s a dry heat.” That may be, but welding or using a gas torch push it into “being miserable” territory, and this is supposed to be fun, so it eventually chased me out of the garage.

After sending off the turbocharger, it was pointed out that there’s a pretty good chance that there’s nothing wrong with it, that the real problem may be that the engine block/cylinder head isn’t being ventilated sufficiently. At higher boost, there’s more blowby gases and if it can’t get out fast enough it can raise crankcase pressure. What can happen is that pressure flows back up the turbo oil drain line to the turbocharger and applies pressure to the backside of the oil seal, pushing oil past the bearing and into the intake tract – instant blue smoke and oil residue in the intake tract. Or, it might just be a defective turbocharger, I’ll have to wait and see. What’s promising is that the vendor tests the unit the right way, pressurizing the oil circuit and monitoring for pressure drop. The only concern I have is the potential conflict of interest, where if they say it’s fine it cost them nothing, but if they say it’s defective it’ll cost them quite a bit – I’ll be very impressed if they say that it’s the latter.

In other news, my brother sold his plane, a combination of lack of time and the expense taking the fun out of it. When he flew it to the new owner it averaged over 28 mpg at 200+ mph, which is phenomenal for an airplane. I asked how he felt about selling it (knowing that he’d probably never have another) and he just shrugged, sort of a “it was fun but with the LS-powered car nearly done, that’s enough for me.” He was happy that he was able to sell it for nearly exactly what he had in it – can’t complain about that.

The GoPro 4 came out today. Comparing specs I don’t see a good reason to go with the Black model which sports 4K resolution. Hardly anyone has 4K TVs yet and nearly all videos get uploaded to YouTube where they’re compressed down to 1080P anyway. I don’t think the shift to 4K will happen for several more years and between now and then GoPro will have better stuff, so I’m not falling for it. However, I will probably get the White model which is $100 less and has a rear video monitor that the top of the line unit doesn’t. The only downside is that it doesn’t offer 120-Hz frame rate at 1080P, useful for slow motion videos, but does have 720P at 120 Hz, good enough for YouTube. So with cooler weather on the way and the addition of a better camera, you’ll have something to look forward to instead of just endless blathering 🙂