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February 13, 2005:
Measuring the length of the tie rods.
The steering rack was centered and a ball joint was installed on the steering arm. The wheels were set to 0 toe and the distance from the rack to the inside of the ball joint was measured. The tie rod was built about 7mm longer to allow for adjustment.
The new ball joints installed, along with new uprights painted a nice satin black.
I'm very happy with the black exhaust.
It hides a number of sins and looks great.
February 20, 2005:
Every moment of my time has been spent working on the book.
I'm trying to make it entertaining to read as well as technically useful. All this writing has meant that I'm not working on the Seven. Well, sort of. I spent today with the car strapped to the dyno, trying to get back my "missing" power. The second dyno run was 134 hp at the rear wheels, right where this engine should be. However, I had problems with a lot of variation between runs. Odd. The fuel filter was changed and a feed line rerouted as the car was starting to show signs of low fuel pressure again and that helped, but I still never hit that 134 again. It was a bit frustrating - but I gave up and started work on installing the individual throttle bodies that we have sitting on the shelf at Flyin' Miata. It took a bit of creativity to get them to work with the stock throttle cable but I have that sorted now. Eventually I managed to get them installed and the injectors proceeded to leak quite enthusiastically. It turns out that the special fuel rail also includes special little clips to hold the injectors in place. Very cool. Now, before I fire it up, I'll have to install new injector connectors (easy) and plug up a coolant line (easy). Then the hard part starts - can I get it to idle?
I've also been doing some shopping. The snowmobile trailer I used to tow the Seven to the track last time worked fine but it was quite an adventure getting the car on it. I've decided to buy a real trailer for the car. I'd build my own but I'm frankly just too short on time. I found a used one that has a 6x12' deck on it for not much more than it would cost me to build. It needs a bit of love but nothing major. I'm building my own little race team! Now, where can I park it?
February 21, 2005:
Did I mention I have better things to do? Today I picked up my "new" trailer.
It needs a bit of love (don't we all?) but it should do the job beautifully. I also managed to get the Seven running on the new throttle bodies. It idles fairly well considering the rough state of tune and makes an intoxicating noise when I blip the throttle. Hee hee hee. Now all I need to do is determine if they're making more power than the stock part, and work out an air filter for them.
With the freshly built engine, I pulled 134 hp at the rear wheels. Woohoo! See it on video.
I have better things to do.
But I've wanted to put these on the Seven for soooo long...
My new trailer for the Seven.
Nothing fancy but it's perfect for what I need. Dig those wheels!
February 25, 2005:
It's been busy at work, but I've been stealing a few moments here and there to work on the Seven.
It's been out for an initial test drive with the throttle bodies installed. Pops and crackles galore out the exhaust as the fuel tuning isn't even close to being correct, but the car runs. I'll put it on the dyno this weekend and see if I can sort things out a little more. There's also a bit of binding of the throttle plates that prevents them from closing 100% when cold, giving me a 2000 rpm idle. Still, the car drives and that's a start.
Ready for a road test.
February 27, 2005:
Not one of my more successful weekends.
I decided to start off by taking the Seven for a quick blast down the road to see how the fuel was set up. The fuel curves are obviously drastically different, so I pulled over and fiddled a bit. The car then absolutely refused to restart. A helpful Man With Truck took me back to the shop to grab the trailer and I brought it home. It has since repeated the trick - this time right in front of our shop doors - so I'll try it tomorrow morning to see if it's heat-related. I thought I'd found the problem but apparently not.
A mistake on my part meant a small hole in one of the radiator tubes, which stopped any chance of dyno testing this weekend. Well, it didn't have to. I managed to fix the leak but by that point I didn't feel like strapping the car to the dyno. A longer drive helped me dial in the fuel better so now it should be in the ballpark. Is it making more power with the new throttle bodies? I'll find out this week. I certainly hope so, otherwise I've wasted a lot of time.
Some bump steer testing proved to be inconclusive - an inch of rack height change brought about little change in the bump steer. Then, as I reassembled everything, I realised I'd forgotten to adjust the ride height for the boards under the front wheels. So all my testing was done incorrectly as I was at the limits of the lower suspension travel. It was that kind of weekend.
I did get some things accomplished, though. The trailer has now been fixed up with properly adjusted hubs, some frame reinforcements, a new place to hang my ramps and general fettling. It should be a nice little setup for the Seven as the car fits perfectly. Now all I have to do is register it! I also spent some time working on my girlfriend Janel's "new" Miata. It was modified with suspension and pretty much the entire Jackson Racing catalog. The 4" exhaust tip and drone at 3000 rpm was not to her liking, so we put on a stock unit and installed the rear springs properly. Much better!
The trailer gets a makeover.
A mounting point for the newly modified ramps, reinforcements in various places and a repaired tire rack.
Some bump steer testing.
March 1, 2005:
The Seven stranded me today after I fixed the starting problem.
Well, I thought I had fixed it. So those throttle bodies are coming off. I just don't have time to sort them out before the various track days and trips coming up. Argh.
March 3, 2005:
After about an hour of work, the Seven fired up happily with the original intake system.
It's a pity I didn't have time to work out the bugs in the throttle body setup. I'll have another shot at them later, probably in late April. Before then I have to finish the book, get the car ready for some real testing and chassis setup at the track and then take it to California. There's a track day at Pueblo next weekend. I'm going to be busy!
March 6, 2005:
Partly for the book and partly because I didn't believe it could be correct, I put the Seven back on the scales today.
Yup, it is perfectly balanced when I'm in the driver's seat. Or when a limited slip diff and four dyno calibration weights are in the driver's seat, anyhow. The downside is that the car seems to have gained a little weight. The fuel tank was brimming and the new tires are noticeably heavy. Is that all? Well, other than gravel strategically placed in every nook and cranny, yes. Maybe it's time to start thinking about pulling some weight out of the car. Somewhere. I did raise the rear slightly so that the car sits level when I'm inside.
I spent some more time with the bump steer testing. Remember how I realised that my steering geometry was wrong some time ago? This forced me to move the tie rods below the steering arms, leading to the problems with the rod end limitations. Well, even with with my newly raised steering arms I still needed to either raise them further or drop the rack down. Maybe my measurements were done with the tie rods on the top of the arms after all. I suspect the truth is that I measured to the center of the arms. Regardless, I dropped the rack down about 1/4" (the limit without rebuilding the rack mount) and improved things fairly significantly. It's still not perfect but that will have to wait.
The Seven goes back on the scales just to make sure.
It's gained some weight!
More bump steer testing with an improved tool.
March 8, 2005:
It was kind of cruel to mention that the car has gained weight and not actually mention how much.
It's at about 1310 lbs right now with a very full tank of gas. I had it up in the air today to do a "nut and bolt" check before the track day. I had been hearing a slight noise from the rear end on an abrubt application of power and I suspected the rear end was starting to come free. Sure enough, the bolt holding the nose of the diff had loosened off about 1-2mm. It's tight now. A few other bits and pieces were checked while the car was aloft.
Since the change back to the stock intake manifold, the car has been very well behaved. Well, once I fixed that one bad connection in an injector wire. It feels quite healthy and the weather right now is perfect for tearing around. It's going to be a lot of fun at the track this weekend.
A view from underneath.
This is a pretty cool photo - I don't think I've ever looked at the car from this angle before.
While checking for loose bolts, I noticed that there's not much clearance between my spring and sidewall with these tires! It's not a problem, but if I go with anything wider I'll need a different offset.
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