Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Moved to the Advanced Run Group

September 27 with PDS at TWS

Back on r-comp tires and running CCW direction. This time my best lap was 2'07.6" after carrying more speed into turn 1.

Kermit developed a small misfire after running pretty much out of gas during the last session, I guess I can't trust the gas gauge. After packing up and loaded the car on the trailer, the battery decided to die on me also. This gave ma an excuse to get rid of the factory battery (35lb of weight) and replace it with a light weight one. I went with a Deka ETX9

In preparation for the next track event I replaced the rotor and cap. I drove the car around the block and I couldn't feel any misfires.

October 24 & 25 with PCA at TWS

What a beautiful weekend!. Weather was perfect as promissed by the PCA organizers.

First session out and the misfires were still there, Kermit felt gutless. Since I had with me a new set of Bosch FR8DC+ spark plugs went ahead and replaced them. They sure needed to be replaced anyway, plug #4 had no gap and the other three were done.

Second session out was a fiasco too, the throttle cable came off the throttle body. It was my fault for not double checking it after replacing the plugs. Not a good weekend so far :(

Then third session came and Kermit ran like a champ. I clocked a 2'06.0" lap going the CW direction. I was very happy and I had lots of people coming to me, including instructors, to tell me how fast the car looked at the track. The rest of the weekend went uneventful and I was promoted to the white (advanced) group.

PCA October 24 @ TWS CW from Edison Rincon on Vimeo.

November 22 with PDS at TWS

Back to CCW direction and I was set to improve my lap times.

The track was a bit wet during the first session, but it dried out before second one. Right away I clocked my best lap, 2'04.9". My Racepak G2X has proven invaluable so far, it has helped me shave almost 5 seconds since I installed it.

It was a fun weekend for sure, and I got to play with two of my instructor friends (AC and Hasta). I was also moved the white (advanced) group.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

NASA August 1 & 2 @ TWS Did Not Happen

Very disappointing, I wasn't able to run NASA Time Trials in August 1 & 2. The replacement oil pan and VW Motorsport windage tray arrived on time, however, UPS managed to damage the oil pan during transit. Since I wasn't going to to attend the NASA event, I decided to ditch the VWM windage tray and go with a baffled oil pan from Techtonics Tuning. Finally after installing the baffled oil pan, Kermit is oil leak free!!!!!!.

I went to TWS in August 15 with the PDS organization. Since we were 30 drivers all solo approved, they went with the open track format: 45 min on and 15 min off track. A fun day for sure.

I was able to look at lap data for the first time. My best lap CCW: 2'09.6". There are a few corners where I can work on to gain more speed and reduce lap times.

September 12 & 13 with PCA at TWS

Another event with the Lonestar Region PCA, this time a very wet one. It pretty much rained the whole weekend. I ran on street tires and managed to spin off-track only once.

Not much else to say about the weekend really. Video:

Kermit @ PCA September 2009 - Very wet session + spin from Edison Rincon on Vimeo.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Going Home

Just a picture I took last May @ TWS before heading back home.

Getting ready for NASA August 1 & 2 @ TWS

I managed to cross all the items off the "To Do" list, even new tires!

TrackTime Performance had a killer deal on Toyo RA-1, so I ended up ordering two set of tires. Brake pads were installed, and all the clutch and maintenance intems were replaced.

The Racepak G2X was easy to mount in the car, and I ended up with the display right in front the instrument cluster. I also installed an AMB transponder in preparation for the NASA event.

Finally, I installed the CHE transmission with fresh seals and a Peloquin 80% shim kit (aka Poor's man LSD). The shim kit basically pre-loads the differential even more, increasing the torque difference between wheels at which the differential opens up. I still have a full open differential, it just takes a bit more torque to act as such.

Kermit was finally back together on Sunday, July 18th. Started the car and there was a big oil leak coming from the rear of the oil pan. I had to remove it and use RTV sealer. It worked and I went for a test drive. My first impression was how long I stayed on each gear, thanks to (not really) the CHE box. It's good that Kermit makes over 120whp from 5K to 7K RPM.

Yesterday (July 20th), I went for a longer test drive run. Came home and jacked up Kermit to inspect for oil leaks and such. To my surprise the transmission case was moist with oil. Since the engine and tranny oil were changed, I didn't know where the yellow clear oil came from. After thinking what to do, I decided to remove the transmission to check if the oil was coming from the tranny seal, rear main crank seal or oil pan. It was the oil pan again. VW 8V engines use a ruber oil pan seal that doesn't need any sealers. Applying RTV as I did was just a band-it fix.

New parts were ordered from GermanAutoParts. They are sending a replacement windage tray for free and the full order is free shipping too!!!!! Those guys are awesome.

I was hopping to have Kermit ready for the last weekend of July for a shakedown with the PDS group at TWS, before the NASA weekend. Looks like I'll be spending that weekend working on Kermit.

In another note, I joined my friend Kevin's LeMons team. If I'm done with Kermit by Sunday, I might drive up to TWS and drive the LeMons car (Toyota Tercel) for the first time.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Dyno Visit & Back to TWS

April 24 - Dyno Day

Kermit visited the dyno to see what was the end result from the head work. After playing with the adjustable cam gear, we settled for 126whp and 129ft-lb. Not bad, specially taking into consideration that the baseline was 91whp and 110ft-lb.

May 2 & 3 with PCA at TWS

It took six months to go back to TWS, and nine months since the last time I drove the CW direction. This time was my first time with the Porsche Club of America (PCA) DE organization. It was a bit different for sure, specially because I was put in the blue group. They are more strict on safety than any other organization I have attended, with higher standards of instructing for advanced drivers.

First time out I got too excited because I finally used 5th gear on the main straght!!!! So excited that I forgot to brake for turn 15 and spun off track. It wasn't really bad, but my instructor got a bit scared for sure. The following sessions were much better and I was promoted to the yellow group by the end of Saturday. Sunday was pretty relaxed, it rained during the morning so I had to switch tires.

It was pretty interesting passing Porsches, specially that 997 Turbo in the blue group. from Edison Rincon on Vimeo.

May 31 with PDS at TWS

Now back to the traditional CCW direction with PDS and one day only. I struggled the whole day with the Yokohama tires. They were done, there was still thread left on them, but I think they had too many heat cycles. They became very unpredictable: sometimes the car was pushing, sometimes it was oversteering.

I spent the third session of the day playing my friends Andy and AC and their Miatas. I was having soo much fun until the tranny decided not to downshift into third anymore (upshifting was OK). No grinding noises, just resistance. I packed up and headed home.

After removing the transmission I found a strap missing from the pressure plate. Now I know that this has been a common problem with the OEM Sach units since they went from double to single strap design. I tried selecting gear on the tranny and it seemed to be OK. I will be installing the original CHE because the AGB developed a very small leak from the passenger's side output flange. The new pressure plate is a Bildon Motorsport unit that is race rated and has reinforced straps.

In another note, I bought a Racepak G2X GPS Data Logger. Now I can verify that I suck at driving :)

Projects before I head back to TWS with NASA August 1 & 2:

- Replace water-to-oil cooler o-ring (preventive maintenance)
- Install VW Motorsport windage tray
- Replace rear main engine seal (preventive maintenance)
- Install new Bildon HD pressure plate and CHE tranny
- Install Racepak G2X logger
- Install Hawk HT-10 front pads
- Convince the wife to let me buy new r-comp tires

During the NASA event I will be applying for the Time Trial license, that's going to be my first step towards the racing license. I'm taking baby steps :)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Adding Another Track H2R

The plan for March 21-22 didn't go well. While installing the new cam and adjustable cam gear, I made a mistake and timed the engine incorrectly. As you could imagine, Kermit's engine didn't like that. After pulling the head, the damaged was reduced to bent exhaust valves. This allowed me to do the head work I was planning on doing anyway.

On April 5 Kermit and I visited Harris Hill Road (H2R) with the S2000 Club of America. San Marco's premium track is a 1.8-mile, 11-turn asphalt road course. The course is 36-feet wide with over 150 feet of elevation changes and a challenging mix of on and off-camber turns, including the 80-foot rise and drop of Santa Rita (Turn 4, named after the patron saint of the impossible task).

The day started windy, but the sunshine stayed with us for the whole day. The organizer put me in the Red run group, a welcome surprise since it allowed me to take passengers for a ride. This was my wife's first ride in Kermit.

H2R Session 4 - S2K Days from Edison Rincon on Vimeo.

H2R was also the first time for Kermit after some engine upgrades. Here is a list:

- Head milled 0.040"
- 3-angle valve job (stock valves)
- TechtonicsTuning tapered valve guides
- Autotech HD valve springs
- Autotech Ti retainers
- Lightweight cam followers
- 276° TechtonicsTuning mild race cam
- TechtonicsTuning adjustable cam gear
- OBX 4-2-1 exhaust header

The engine now pulls all the way to 7K RPM, when before you could feel it running out of breath after 5.5K RPM. I did notice higher oil temperatures with the increased red line and compression. I'll have to install an oil cooler to solve this problem before ambient temperatures reach 90°F +.

H2R was a handful track. There are no straights per se, so you are always working on the next turn. Track surface was a bit bumpy on some corners, but nothing to really worry about. Run offs looked smooth and gentle to the car.

I found myself getting tired sooner and making mistakes towards the end of the sessions. I was very competitive because of my friends S2000, which equated to a not so smooth driving. I need to go back and work on couple of turns applying the "smooth in, fast out" principle.

At the end of the day I had tons of fun and found another track that suits Kermit very well.

I miss TWS and Kermit hasn't been there since the transmission and engine upgrade. The plan is to go back in May 2-3 with the LSR Porsche Club.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

New Tracks for Kermit

Dec 6 & 7 with TDE at MSR Cresson

Kermit made it all the way up to Dallas for weekend fun at MSR Cresson 1.7 miles CW course. I was still running the 020 CHE transmission because the AGB developed an oil leak after installation. I failed to inspect the output shaft seals, which were actually missing. A new SACHS clutch was installed along with a Eurospec lightweight flywheel and GruvenParts lightweight crank pulley.

Saturday started pretty cold, I was using the Falken Azenis RT-615 tires to learn the track. The first time out I was all over the place. At that point I realized MSRC was not going to be as easy as I thought. MSRC is a very challenging track with off-camber and blind turns. Since it was my first time at MSRC, TDE assigned me an instructor. I went for a spin with him during the instructor's session. I then realized I had a lot of work to do.

Next session out went better, but I was still off the pace. No big deal, just kept learning the track. Session three after lunch didn't go so well, partially because I decided to run the brand new Hankook Z214 R-comps. I didn't realize that it was going to take a full session just to scrub the tires. I spun coming out of the paddock, very embarrassing. Then I started to have an intermittent spongy brake pedal. I finished the session and proceeded to check the brakes. Front rotors were done, luckily I had a brand new set with me. Replaced the rotors and bled the brakes. Pedal was firm.

Fourth session and last one for Saturday. I was getting faster each lap until the brake padel went to the floor. The master cylinder failed :(, I was done for the weekend since I didn't feel like replacing it at the track.

MSR Cresson, we'll meet again ..........

Jan 31 & Feb 1 with NASA at MSR Houston

I took the opportunity to visit MSRH 2.3 CCW course with NASA, since they also offer a DE group. All the previous problems were fixed, plus some minor improvements like the 020 AGB short ratio transmission and ram air intake. I was so looking forward for a trouble free weekend.

Again, I was using the Falken Azenis for the first two session on Saturday. MSRH was turning out to be an easier track to learn, and more suited for Kermit than TWS. I was having a great time. In the afternoon I switched to the Hankook r-comps and I was flying. I was moved to HPDE4 by the end of the day.

Sunday was a mix of rain and sun. The very last session was an extremely fun one. I spent about three laps switching positions with my friend Alex and his Lotus Elise. I was also playing with an Acura Integra driven by one of the instructors. I made the mistake of pushing too hard trying to catch up and spun big time at the Bus Stop. Kermit escaped unharmed. I wish my new HD camera hadn't run out of batteries.

Next track event is on March 21 & 22 with TDE. I managed to convince a couple friends of mine from the European car group to have some fun with me at the track.

I have new stickers now :)