Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Want the good news first?

The brakes feel great & have more than enough power to lock up the wheels. The lines are bled & feel good. The rear brakes are adjusted & we should have good balance.

Then we added some Lucas fuel system cleaner & fired it up. We took it down the street to the industrial park & began bedding the brakes. The car ran up to 5,000/5,500 rpm beautifully... Then I went to turn left in the cul-de-sac. Cough, cough, stall. Fuel starvation. Stopped it, hit the key, re-fired without issue. A few more passes and then she started sputtering...a lot. Stalled. But, then after letting it idle a while, it cleared up again. There MUST be some sort of gunk that's getting up from the tank. Geoff thinks we should drain the tank...I think that's a decent idea, but we're tight on time...


When we got back to the house, I saw moisture on the firewall. The clutch master cylinder is leaking. Bad. Replacing it looks to be a massing bitch, and a cylinder is $80. A rebuild kit is $32 and Pelican Parts should be able to overnight it to us for a Thursday install. There is a small chance NAPA may have one in stock too; Geoff is calling everyone first thing in the morning to find parts. The only good news: we CAN do the rebuild from inside the footwell.

So...yeah. I'm frustrated. We're lucky we found the issue now, but damn...

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Alllllllmost there!

It's been a Three Day Thrash on the BMW; our final weekend before the race found us turning wrenches, wiring electronics, spraying paint & hoping it all works.

It does!

Thanks to Geoff & Jim, between Friday & Sunday we...
  • Painted the interior
  • Mounted the instrument cluster
  • Installed the belts
  • Wired up the transponder
  • Taped all the lights
  • Installed the Master Switch (Roger's trick mount is flippin' beautiful!)
  • Finished the exhaust
  • Flushed & filled the radiator...again
  • Pulled out the big dent on the right rear
  • Bondo'd the roof, sanded & painted to fill in the now permanent "sunroof"
And probably a few more things!

Our graphics will be here in a couple days (yes, we'll probably be installing them as we load the trailer on Thursday!).

Jim would like to run the test sessions on Friday if the price is right. Geoff probably isn't available. I "may" be available to run a session or so. Ed; you could be the other test driver!

This week we need to do a few things to wrap it up; the Hawk Blue racing brake pads will be here Monday. The hydraulics need to be bled too. We have to finish the installation of the rollcage padding. Add in the Traqmate data acquistion system too.

We're jazzed to get on the track with this beast...and once we survive this event, we'll be looking to the future for more events to run at!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

With 9 Days Left, The Cage Is DONE!

Allow me to say it in a public forum, in a non-sexual kind of way...Roger Sigears is a studly welding biotch.

It took more work than we expected...and considering this was a "custom" cage for our car, there is still a lot of tubing leftover. However, we have a 6 point cage with some actual triangulation for stiffness. Dare I say, it's a better cage than the car needs...and better than it certainly deserves!

I'm packing the car up from the Petty shop & taking it home tonight; between now & Sunday it'll be a thrash to get the final items on the build sheet taken care of. At that point, we REALLY need to put some miles on it to make sure everything is perfect (well...as perfect as a clunker like this can get), then off to the race next week.

Team: we'll be at my house in Mooresville all weekend long.

Everyone else: come join us at the track April 4 & 5 at Carolina Motorsports Park!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Wow, Saturday was BIG!

The guys all got together Saturday for what seems like one of our biggest build days of the whole process...and I couldn't be there to help. Fellas, I can't say it enough, but I'm SO SORRY I had to skip town at the last minute, but a death in the family tends to screw things up on many levels.

Now, I got an update from Geoff at the end of their workday & the list of things complete continues to grow. The cage is essentially finished, there's a race seat now installed, mounts for the belts complete...

I'll bring the truck to work in the morning & Geoff will get the car to the Alignment shop. I'm hoping not to find any last minute surprises there, but 26 year old suspension bolts & dried up bushings are always suspect.

I'm on an airplane this afternoon & can't wait to join the rest of Hammer's Heroes for another round of bloody knuckles & war stories!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Progress Continues...

Dateline Friday:
While test fitting the rollcage, we've realized that this kit requires us to take out the dashboard. What Jimmy, the cage builder didn't know, was that there's a big crossbeam under the dash, right where he had the legs coming down. So, we cut it out! It was the first time I'd ever used a Sawzall...that's a badass tool! With much work, Jim & I got the dash out.

While we had the dash out, it was pretty easy to make the decision to go all the way; we'd also remove the rest of the heating system. The fans, the heater core, the hoses, the ductwork...everything.

By the end of the day Saturday, we'd done all that work, bypassed the cooling system, test fit the race seat & decided to make more changes to the cage from what we had. Roger had done a yeoman's job of getting the cage bits trimmed, measured, tweeked & installed...and we still have more to go.

But, we'll ge there. And we're much closer now that ever before.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

2 More Items Crossed Off The Build Sheet

I got the third taillight mounted (per the rules...they figure we'll knock the OEM ones out of the car!) I also got the brake sensor fixed...er, repaired, I mean...I jumped the wires so the damn light on the dash won't flicker anymore.

Oh, speaking of flickering...looks like there's a short somewhere in the headlights. Moving the car last night they were intermittent as best. I guess I have to add that to the build sheet now...

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

We've Got Juice In Our Rear

No, I'm not talking about some automotive colonic... We moved the battery to the trunk of the car last night! The idea is that we help balance the car by moving that weight from the left front of the car (the heaviest corner) to the right rear (the lightest).

Doing that made space up front for our homebrew Cold Air Intake kit made from some plastic tubing and an old cone filter lying around my garage. I'm betting this won't be featured on the next Chip Foose project.

We're just about set to begin the install of the roll cage too. We test fit the main hoop, which is the tube that everything else comes off of. Turns out, the pipe was made for a car with no sunroof...our car had a sunroof...note the use of past tense. I cut it out with a zizz wheel the other day, gaining us a couple inches of extra headroom. We'll weld the old panel back in place when we're done with the interior.

What's next? Who really knows...but we'll have a chilly beverage in our hand ready to tell the story, no doubt!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Comedy Runs Rampant...

...and my face is crispy.

Let me explain; we did a test-fit of the rollcage today. It's a tight fit for sure, but we realized that it's been designed for a car without a sunroof. Colonel Klink has a sunroof. Check that, HAD a sunroof. Thanks to a high powered Zizz-Wheel and a sorta steady hand...I cut the sunroof mechanism out of the car. But, the cutting wheel throws sparks EVERYWHERE. Into my hair, my face, my arms, my... Anything not tightly covered with clothing was peppered with tiny meteorites flying through the interior of our 26 year old BMW. I was SURE I'd set something on fire, but luckily I only suffer from a few small burns and ringing ears.

What? My personal dysfigurement isn't enough comedy for you? Fine, how about this...

Last week Jim & I were working on the car...he removed the radiator & flushed it with the garden hose (for you Nort Kakalaka natives, that's a Hose Pipe). All sorts of schmegma came out; who knows how long it had been since that cooling system had been flushed. He reinstalled it & we got the car fired up to much hoopla.

Later that night I was fighting with the tie rods & noticed the leak. Yeah. From our newly cleaned radiator. It appeared we'd knocked crud loose that had been holding the car's vital fluid inside... We were wrong. Today we unloaded the car at the shop & I drove it around the back...yes, the water was still dripping...then I saw it... "Hey Roger, is that coolant oozing from the radiator hose?" Roger gave the hose a tug... and it popped right off! LOL Jim forgot to tighten the hose clamp a week ago & had us ready to replace the friggin' radiator!

And THAT, ladies & gentlmen, is how things go for Hammer's Heroes.

Friday, March 6, 2009


It was a BIG night for us; Geoff came over to the GarageMahal and we dug into the fuel system on the Lemons BMW.

We'd been suffering from low fuel pressure that wouldn't allow the car to rev up past about 3500-4000rpm. Not good to drive on. We acquired more parts from Steven at MSMAutos.com (thanks Steve!) and started at the fist stop; a BADLY varnished in-tank fuel pump. Steven also sent us a fuel pump and fuel accumulator just in case. The short story is that the in-tank pump was the trick; we cleaned it up and installed it...wired the battery up & hit the key; varrooommm!

Okay, it wasn't quite that easy...there was another vacuum leak to deal with and the radiator is leaking and the mixture is pig rich & needs to be leaned out...

If our car hadn't been abused over the last 26 years, this is what the engine bay SHOULD look like. Ours...er, not so much.

That said, I drove it onto the trailer under it's own power tonight & will be taking it to the Petty shop to have our buddy Roger test-fit the cage. While he's up to that, the rest of us will be working on the items on our (very long) build sheet that still need to be done before we can race this thing April 4th & 5th.


Hammer's Heroes have a lofty goal for tonight; get the car running enough to get it on the trailer.


We're going to bring it to the Petty shop to work on a lift Saturday! We need to get in gear and the cage is the next big thing; while Roger is sizing up that task, we can work on other things there at the shop.

To Do List:
  • Get her running (fuel system issues)
  • Install Cage
  • Move Battery to the trunk
  • Fabricate exhaust
  • Fab cold air intake kit
  • Install seat & safety equipment
  • If there's still time...throw some paint on her!
It's Friday; if you're not up to anything, swing by my house in Mooresville for some fun tonight!

Spreading The Love

In between getting downsized at work, sucking up to a (way cool) wife, and fighting with the Hammers Heroes racecar, our buddy Geoff has his own track car to prepare. Yesterday, I came around the backside of our shop to see his car on a lift with him & Ron (who helped with our Tires last week) underneath it.

I wound up sticking around to help them for a couple hours...meaning we never did get to work on our car last night. BUT...the Car Gods have shone upon us & we'll have perfect weather the next 3 days. So, we're going to work on the car tonight at my place & see if we can get that engine running again.

Wanna come help out? We'll be at the GarageMahal all weekend.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Maybe We Could Get Milka Duno or Paul Menard...

...just like most Indycar teams and many NASCAR teams, we need a ride buyer.

Craver told me tonight that he's backing out on us, just 4 weeks before the race. That means we have to find a fourth driver for the team; Lemons rules state a minimum of 4 drivers per team.

Soooo... If you're interested, or know someone who is... Send them our way.

Tonight, we wrench.

I like that; turning nouns into verbs: "Wrench"

Geoff is coming by for his first look-see at the BMW; and we'll tackle the fuel pumps. This is what a good one looks like:

Yeah, well...ours doesn't look anything like that! We have a lot of cleaning to do before we can install it. Keep your fingers crossed; the car should re-fire for us this evening.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Well crap...

...I got the fuel pump for the tank today...and Steven was right; it's pretty bad. In fact, it's probably in worse shape than the one we have, well, other than the fact that ours is broken.

I'm not sure what to do. Grrrr...

Sunday, March 1, 2009

A Monkey Wrench?! YES!

A damn Monkey Wrench. Who knew?!

I'd been fighting with the tie rods on the BMW for quite some time, but no matter what tool I used, I couldn't get the grip I needed to generate the torque to get them off the steering rack. I sucked it up & called Billy Revis from Motorsport Connections (who was at the track; VIR). His answer; a pipe wrench. And? Sonofabitch, it worked! Easily, I'll add.

Once I got the tie rods on the car, I installed the front hubs that Jim repacked with some really nasty lube! Then, I reassembled the brakes & put our newly-mounted wheels & tires on...and dropped the car onto it's own feet. And took a big sigh of relief!

Today; put the fuel tank back together & see if she'll fire up.