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Ultimate "fixes" at the track when it broke?

Old 03-19-04, 10:31 AM
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Ultimate "fixes" at the track when it broke?

Anyone with interesting stories about in the pits fixes when something broke at the track?

I will never forget back in the late 80's during a GTP race that one of the all conquering Nissans came into the pits with a slipping clutch. The tv analyst was waiting in the pits for the car to come in and the pit crew had all the tools for the fix laid out on the wall: A wrench, a funnel, 2 quarts of motor oil and a can of Pepsi

Car roars in, body work comes off and a plug above the bellhousing is removed. In goes the funnel and 2 quarts of motor oil and chased with the 12 oz can of Pepsi

I know that oil on the friction surface of the clutch will make it grab and stick, but I never figured out what role the Pepsi played Let's see those NASCAR guys with all their sledge hammers and helicopter tape try that
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Old 03-19-04, 12:14 PM
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oil on the friction surface of the clutch will make it grab???? really? I never knew that.. learn something new every day
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Old 03-19-04, 12:50 PM
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Originally posted by Silkworm
oil on the friction surface of the clutch will make it grab???? really? I never knew that.. learn something new every day
Sure; same as your brakes will if you get grease or oil all over the rotors.

In the old days on live axle cars the axle seal could fail and let diff lube out inside the rear brake drums. This makes the rear brakes lock very easily

Ever notice how oil from a leak will bake onto the motor in a kind of goo? It practically becomes adhesive. When you have it all over a clutch that is slipping the clutch will slip until the oil gets hot and presto! You nearly glue the disc to the flywheel
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Old 03-19-04, 01:42 PM
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my proudest moment so far was changing a wheel bearing in my friends miata when he was taking his drivers school. you have to be on the track for every session in order to pass. i had never changed a wheel bearing in a miata before and managed to get it changed in about 10 min by myself, getting him back on the grid in plenty of time for the next session.

not all on track, but last weekend i blew an apex seal at barber motorsports park (my second session out too, dammit). pulled the motor and have been rebuilding it all week. got it back in the car and running last night, just in time for another track day at tgpr this weekend...
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Old 03-19-04, 01:51 PM
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Re: Ultimate "fixes" at the track when it broke?

Originally posted by DamonB
Anyone with interesting stories about in the pits fixes when something broke at the track?
Well, it's not quite as interesting as the Nissan story .... but here goes. Maverick region PCA Time trials in Mineral Wells at their June event. I'm in the first group and running with some very slow competitors. I think I had 4 impedes during the 5 hot lap session. After my cool down, I pull into the "pit lane" and notice my coolant at slightly above halfway. OOOOOHHHH SHH****TT! Pop the hood and start spraying down the radiator, the intake, the IC, the piping, the intake manifold ... the whole f**kin' engine bay.

Coolant starts dripping out of the overflow recirc line. I think leak, so I tear apart the intake assembly and start duct taping the plastic connector and hoses where the drip is occurring. I send my friends off for some DI water and continue to add as the puddle beneath the car gets bigger and bigger. PowerFC water temp gets up to 128C .... 262F!!!! I figured I'm screwed ... but keep adding DI water and eventually the temp goes down. I miss my second morning session.

After lunch, I reassemble everything and start the car back up. Wait for it to idle to operating temp. Temp reaches and starts to continue to rise. I check the engine bay and I start scratching my head .... WTF? And then I see it. The goddarn fans aren't turning on. Pop open the fuse box and there it is ... one burnt up copper lead in the fan fuse. Swap the fuse with the one for the rear defrost. Start the car back up and voila .... coolant temperature control!

I check in with the timing van and see about running the afternoon session ... they okay me as long as I work in the afternoon. Fine with me. Work my session and jump back into the car. Run the last hot lap session and chase down EVERYONE. 3 more impedes in the fast group. On course 3, the more technical and slower of the 3 courses they run at Mineral Wells, I was hitting 140mph on the back straight ... *****-to-the-wall fun. After it was all said and done, I ended up with 3rd FTD behind a gutted, race prepped Porsche and C5 running full bolt-ons and 335's all around!

And to put a fitting end to the day ... one of my friends attending in his blown Mustang fries his tranny on the last lap. Chews up 1st, 2nd, and 4th gear ..... so like all good racing folks do, I help him out with my AAA card. Jeff gets a free tow back to Dallas and I go home feeling like a good guy. Car doesn't do anything funky the whole ride back to Austin and I stop immediately as the Pep Boys to pickup ... oh, 3 or 4 female 10A fuses.

-Don
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Old 03-19-04, 02:07 PM
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rrr1, I can't say replacing a fuse counts as a "fix". Yours don't count

At a Divisional in the TMS bus lot I proceeded to throw fuel over half the course My fuel pump had quit earlier in the week and I opened it up to find the connection inside the tank corroding. I spliced on a new connector and all was fine until I topped up the tank for the autox. The rubber seal at the pump cover was not seated correctly and so gas spilled out every time I punched it

Had to run back the way back to the trailer to grab tools, run back and remove fuel pump in grid before finding the unseated gasket and putting it back together. There's only about 20 little f'in screws that hold the tank cover on
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Old 03-19-04, 02:24 PM
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ummmm!
is anyone here frum bc canada that would know any info on auto cross racing in northern bc?
any info would be muchly appreciated!
thanx
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Old 03-19-04, 02:36 PM
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imark, try our Canadian Forum here on this site.
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Old 03-19-04, 02:43 PM
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Originally posted by DamonB
At a Divisional in the TMS bus lot I proceeded to throw fuel over half the course
Ahhh ... that's why I had no grip on Saturday's course!
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Old 03-19-04, 03:35 PM
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Not at a track but I've used a leather shoe lace to replace a shredded water pump belt in the Australian outback with only my leatherman as a tool

Crispy
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Old 03-19-04, 03:38 PM
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Originally posted by CrispyRX7
Not at a track but I've used a leather shoe lace to replace a shredded water pump belt in the Australian outback with only my leatherman as a tool

Crispy
Should've had a Sheila with ya, then you could have confiscated her pantyhose
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Old 03-19-04, 06:35 PM
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Well... never had much happen with my RX7 but did back when I was doing SCCA ClubRally in a BMW 325IX.

That thing got beaten to a pulp and had to be fixed all the time:

1) Fuel Pump wiring failed during a rally stage. Ran a jumper quickly from the battery directly to the pump.

2) Fuel line kept popping off on a really rough stage. Had to get out five or six times, climb under the car, and put it back on.

3) Ignition coil bracket got shook so hard the weld holding it to the chassis failed. Flew around the engine and had to be fixed with wire really quicky.

3) Exhaust System was ripped off from the downpipe back. Had a REALLY loud car the rest of the race. During a transit stage we drove through a quaint little town that had signs everywhere saying "Vehicle Sounds Limits Strictly Enforced". Fortunately we could coast through most of the town... in particular when the cop was following up.

4) The strut tower seperated from the chassis making for a strut that would give about 20 degrees negative camber on turns. Managed to finish the stage and weld it up really quickly in the field and reinforce it with some welded in rebar. (Thanks for Team Subaru for their generous help!)

5) Go struck by lightning in Arizona... really.

-John Magnuson
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Old 03-19-04, 10:54 PM
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Back at the SWDiv Double National in February, one of the EP RX7 guys blew an engine in P/Q. I drove by before lunch, and he was pulling stuff off the engine. Drove by before having to attend to my duties after lunch, and he was bolting stuff back on. Changed the engine in plenty of time to get back on track for the race.

We used to do that in Quarter Midgets all the time, until they came up with the one motor rule. Used to put the High-HP motor in for qualifying, then put in the Grunt for the race. Funny thing was, we were the poorest family out there, we just happened to have a cool manufacturer we ran for.
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Old 03-20-04, 12:03 AM
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I wish I had some cool stories to tell...I've been crewing on a professional-level endurance racing team for a few years in Grand Am Cup, plus I've had my own "adventures" in a couple Grassroots Motorsports Challenges. While we've had our share of mechanical difficulties, I cannot recall any field repairs that were all that creative or witty in retrospect. Lots of duct tape and zip ties, of course, but most stuff were just straight forward repairs and bruised knuckles. I can say I've swapped trannies, rear ends, fuel pumps, etc. at places like Daytona, Phoenix, Daytona, Watkins Glen, Daytona, Thunderhill, Daytona, Fontana, Daytona...notice any patterns?
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Old 03-20-04, 08:04 AM
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The only real street car related story was at a divisional at A&M, in my '99 2.5RS. I ran in the last heat on the first day. Got back to the pits and started to swap tires so I could go to the dinner with everyone else. Everything was still really hot, and I ended up stripping one of the lugs. I didn't have any way to fix it, so I finished the job with only 4 lugs on that one wheel. Went to dinner and talked to people to try and figure out what I was going to do for day two. It turns out that one of the guys from our club has a co2 tank and air tool, and one of my fellow Subie drivers had extra lug nuts and studs... So the next morning I pulled the front hub apart, and had the new lug installed in about 15 minutes.
Lesson learned: Wait for the hub to cool down defore changing the wheels, and use plenty of anti-sieze.
Good Formula SAE story... In 2002 we had 4 wheel steering on our car. It was a closed hydraulic system, with no reservoirs, making it a real [email protected]# to bleed. It was also fairly exposed on the rear of the car, so if someone was an idiot they could easily damage the system. Well I was sound asleep at my uncle's house the night before the autocross event. I was the main driver, so I had to be ready to perform... I was also the guy that knew the most about fixing the 4ws. My cell phone rings at 2:30am, it's the team captain telling me that the 4ws has developed a leak, and I've got to fix it... now, so it'll be ready to run first thing in the morning. So I drag my *** down to the paddock and work on it for a couple hours, puting a new flare onto one of the hard lines. Then go back to sleep for a couple hours, before having to get up and drive my *** off.
Lesson learned: turn off your cell phone at night.

Last edited by Travis R; 03-20-04 at 08:09 AM.
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Old 03-20-04, 01:59 PM
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Many years back at the POC(Porsche Owners Club)'s Tribute to LeMans 4hour endurance race we had a track side fix. This is a very big and popular race with the local porsche racers and ususally brings out all kinds of pro drivers. So we decide to race a 944 turbo that a friend had turned into a pretty fast racer. We put together a good team of speed and consistancy. friday is qualifying and night practice. Fast driver and me are at Willow Springs friday for qualifying, rest of the team is set to arrive later in the day for night practice. Fast driver gets out on track and get 3 clear laps with no traffic and runs the fastest lap the car had ever done. qualified in the middle of the 40+ car field, 19th to be exact. driver comes in and reports overheating. I look over the car and see a leaking water hose. let car cool and replaced hose. track is now closed so I can't check that this is the fix. night practice roles around and the car is still overheating when pushed hard under boost. We finally determine the head gasket has blown(a problem with high boost 944's). We round up all the gaskets and spares and start working 6am saturday. car makes afternoon practice by 10 minutes and starts the race. during the race we have some other problems, mainly an altercation with a former IMSA GTO champion, but we finish exactly where we qualified, 19th.
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Old 03-24-04, 07:43 AM
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This past weekend at VIR, we discovered that both front rotors had cracked completely through during qualifying.

We found this out 20 minutes before the start of the race.

We had spare rotors, Of course we had not prepped them, so we:
tapped in bearing races
repacked the wheel bearings
installed the grease seals
installed wheel studs
threw the new rotors on
and still made it to grid before the 1 minute warning so we could keep our (next to last ) position on grid.

Not the most impressive story ever, but being noobs, we were pretty stoked that we didn't miss out on any track time!
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Old 03-24-04, 01:43 PM
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Dozens of full tranny swaps with an average time of 23 minutes with a partner...safety wire and all. Not even close to Audis 5 minute entire rear end swap Tranny swaps are my favorite thrash thing to do at the track.
Fuel cell, engine swaps, any combo of any and all corners of the car repaired and/or replaced and just about every other part of the cars repaired or replaced. Those were all on star mazda cars though
I'm afraid to list some of the 'fixes' I've done, some succesful and others not. One was not so bad. Duct tape, lots of it, to replace the disentagrated (don't ask how) cv boot. Painted it flat black really quick so it wouldn't stand out to much. Lasted all day btw.
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Old 03-24-04, 02:05 PM
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the oil will only aid in making the clutch grab once it surpases it's maximum sheer viscocity. It's at that point that it becomes gel-like. i have no idea what the pepsi was for but i'll ask someone tommorow and have an answer to post.
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Old 03-24-04, 02:28 PM
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maybe because pepsi is sticky? i'm guessing it reacts a certain way with oil. someone be the guinea pig and try this concoction.
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Old 03-24-04, 04:09 PM
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Not so much a Magiver, more of a sob story. Last year at the June Sprints we were trying some radical porting and in the first session I was 2 full seconds under the track record. End of the session the car was running a bit rough and in the second session started loosing hp. Seems the porting was bit over the top Time to find an engine hoist. Barrowed a motor from my engine builder. Luckily he had one as my spare was at home in pieces on the bench. Got it in for the race but on the warm up lap it threw the belt By lap two the temp was pushing 240 but I found that if I ran in clean air I could keep it there. Most I saw in 15 laps was about 275 until the "cool down" lap (yes I finished). Not knowing what the problem was I nursed it around thinking that if I went slow it would cool off. Just the oposite temp rocketed to 300+. Got to the pit lane and stut it off, never to start again. Best thing about it? I still finished fifth and brought home a trophy
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Old 03-24-04, 08:25 PM
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When pepsi gets hot it caramelizes and gets sticky.

It wasn't at the track, but my clutch master cylendar died once in some stop and go traffic. It would work for just a second or two and then the fluid would leak past the piston seal and the clutch would re-grab, which caused the car to go forward and the pedal to stay on the floor. If you pulled it back up you could use it again as long as you were quick. So for the repair, I un-did my shoelace on my left foot and used it to tie my shoe to the pedal so I could yank it back up again. Not an optimal solution but it allowed me to limp home.
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Old 03-24-04, 08:32 PM
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Learning to shift without the clutch beforehand will prepare you for WHEN the clutch master fails.

I've been fortunate enough to neer have broken at the track. Worst thing was when I left the ignition on to keep the electric fan on and I forgot about it... battery was too weak to crank the engine over when my calss was being called. As my competitor was pulling into tbe burnout box, I started push-starting the car, and some other people ran from about 30 yards away and helped me start it. Won the race too. Thanks guys!
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Old 03-25-04, 08:44 AM
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No-clutch shifting isn't very helpful in stop and go traffic...
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Old 03-25-04, 10:15 AM
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stop, start in gear, stop, start in gear, purchase new starter.
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