15 Feb

Increased the left front camber 1/2 turn and the right rear camber a full turn, whatever that ends up being, to better balance the car.

I had the day off so did a test drive into the back country: up Palomar Mountain, down the east side, across Mesa Grande then back through Ramona and Highland Valley Road. Unfortunately it was ridiculously warm for February, around 90 degrees F, never mind getting stuck in an endless train of RVs and toy haulers returning from their weekend desert outings. Both my brother and I have a habit of driving up Palomar Mountain at about 30-40 mph – never using our brakes. It makes for a less-threatening-to-others approach to test drives; no spinning tires, no drifting, no hard acceleration, yet corners are nearly traction-limited. It’s saved us several times coming around a bend and finding a cop sitting there. Anyway, around a few turns the car was really loaded up but felt much better than before, so that’s promising. My brother said “so what you’re saying is that I figured it all out for you.” I said, “well what happens if it still spins off on-track?” His reply was, “well in that case it would mean that you obviously did something wrong then.” I see…

I’ve started hearing something loose in the car, like a component not fully-restrained somewhere behind or near the driver’s seat. It’s noticeable during even slight acceleration and also when swerving back and forth. I got under the car and couldn’t find anything obvious other than the coolant lines that go up and over the fuel tank being a little loose. I jammed a shop towel in there to see if that “fixes” it, since there’s poor access and nothing to tie them to. The engine mounts are fine, the suspension arms are fine, and the oil-to-coolant heat exchanger is well-restrained – I thought sure that was the cause but nope.

When I pulled into the garage and shut off the engine, I was enveloped by a strong smell a lot like acetone. It was as if my wife had used fingernail-remover, but she’d never do that in the garage. I asked her if she’d been doing anything in there, nope. I hadn’t done anything other than backing the car out. It turned out that a 15-year old can of spray paint had developed a hole in the side of the can, spewing very old and very stinky paint all over – made a sticky mess. It was a reminder to go through every bottle and can to decide what should be kept around and what should be discarded

Using the spreadsheet from the original Midlana design, I tried moving the dry sump tank from where it is now (aft of the rear axle) to way up front, to see how much it moved the CG of the car… 1%. Bah, that’s not very much for the amount of work and expense (two fairly long -12 and -16 AN hoses. Also is the thought that where would I want the tank to be in the event of an accident. Up front, it’ll get squished and spray hot oil all over, probably on me. In the back, it’s at least be contained in the engine compartment. Meh, right now I’m not feeling driven to move it, but I’ll have to see how the car’s handling is this weekend, whether moving the CG forward is that important.

The weather forecast for Streets of Willow is very promising so looks like it’s a go. My buddy Kane should be joining me for at least part of the weekend; having someone there who’s handling photography makes everything go much smoother. Hopefully he’ll be bringing some gear that makes the upcoming track video extra special :).