A few updates…
Looks like I’m going to proceed with using the headlight caps “touring car style”. While I like the look of the headlights it will give me some extra room in the engine bay and will simply things a little. I’ll probably put the headlights back on a some point, but for now it will be carbon caps.
Much needed cleaning…
As part of plumbing the new fuel and fire system, and new battery kill switch, I decided to remove the passenger foot plate so I could give the floor some much needed cleaning. More to come on the progress…
The foot plate before:
The OE floor (before) with the foot plate removed. I think this is the first time it’s been cleaned since the car was originally built in 1999:
The OE floor (after):
I’m still working on the system but got the new send and return lines assembled and wrapped in a fire resistant covering. More to come…
The airbox is coming along nicely. As I mentioned before, it’s being made by the European company that created the original piece except that I’m having them modify the size. The original intake pipe was quite small and actually tapers down to almost 60-62mm (stock size). The new unit will be closer to 75mm and will feature a better flowing custom filter and air inlet snorkel. The picture below is of the top half during the final stages of fabrication.
I swear it’s like this car has never been thoroughly cleaned before. I removed the driver side floot plate and discovered even more dirt. After a thorough cleaning using aviation cleaner (it’s extremely easy on aluminum, steel, and carbon fiber), and a rinse with distilled water and high pressure air, the floor is more or less squeaky clean. I know… I know it’s a race car not a show car, however, I need to get it down to this level of detail so I can correctly treat any damaged areas and accurately determine the quality of the body panels and monitor any future wear issues (rust, dents, paint chipping, etc…).
Also shown in the picture is the fuel send & return lines. They’re steel braided, PTFE lined and wrapped in a fire resistant black sleeve. Given the location, it’s safe to say that it will take quite a bit for these lines to get damaged.
Also shown is the exposed brake bias controller. As you can see the fittings have quite a bit of surface rust and I bet the lines aren’t in any better shape. I’m almost 100% positive in them being the original pieces that were assembled installed in 1999. Before I experience any type of failure (I noticed one of the fitting starting to weep after the last event), I’ll be replacing everything with new permanent/preassembled lines.
While I had the carbon fiber center console box removed, I decided to give it a little R&R using a 3-stage resurfacing process. I didn’t want to get too aggressive by removing all the scratches but overall it came out great. I’ll also be replacing the original labels (clear w/white lettering) once the I reinstall it).
Ok…ok this will sound a little OCD, but I discovered something interesting about the brake bias controller and carbon fiber console box. If you look at the picture above you’ll notice two set of holes next to each other (4 in total). Well two of those holes are for the brake bias mounting and the other two were left unused, but showed signs of having been formally used. Originally I figured the holes were drilled incorrectly and had to be redone during the install process. However, given the level of attention on this car that never really seemed quite right. Also I never understood why the label said front and rear when the bias adjustment is a turn knob. If anything you’d have the label indicate + or – with an arrow indicating the direction of adjustment. Once I removed the entire assembly it became clear.
I noticed quite a bit of paint bubbling, typically a result of brake fluid exposure. In looking at the hole size and location, I realized this car must have had a lever style bias adjuster before switching to a knob style. So after a little digging I found a picture at Spa Francorchamps in 2000 and guess what you see. A big 6 or 7-way red lever (moving it forward adds more bias to the front and moving it back adds more bias to the rear). Mystery solved! Also regarding the “reserve switch”, I spoke with Mark and the switch previously activated a third fuel pump that would be utilized when the main twin-pump system ran out of gas. The reserve pump supplied the engine with enough fuel to complete one full lap at Spa Francorcamps. In an endurance race that thing you want is to run out of gas, especially in the middle of the night on a 4.3 mile circuit. In digging through the boxes that came with the car, I discovered all three original fuel pumps with wiring and plumbing still connected.
The fuel system is almost complete
It’s been quite a process but the entire system is more or less installed and just needs some finishing touches such as adding a couple of hose clamps, covering the fill/vent hose with some ducting and plumbing the vent off the top bladder. If you look closely you’ll noticed that I swapped out the 4×6 blank (blue) plate on the upper bladder for a black unit. The new piece incorporates a vent with a spring-loaded tip-over valve, plus adds a small 2” filler cap. While I can use the remote dry-break valves for filling, this extra cap will allow me to conveniently use a standard fill process should the dry-breaks fail or if I forget the special redhead filling jugs.
Also pictured is the gold heat-reflective film that surrounds to the entire enclosure. I have no idea how well this stuff will hold up but it’s worth a shot in trying. Worst case, I installed a heat resistant felt liner on the inside to fall back on. Neither protection was used for endurance racing so I’m pretty sure I’ll be fine regardless. Overkill is fine with me.
Not pictured and more OCD: I’m currently redoing the entire rear wiring hardness. It’s keeping me up at night knowing that the wiring is wrapped in nasty electrical tape and contains the wires for the rear antenna, option trailer hitch, etc… I’m going to copy the wiring I made for my other race car where I use only eight or so wires for the entire rear (brakes, parking, reverse, blinkers, fuel pump, fuel level). The weight savings should come in around 5lbs or so. More pictures to come on this…
More global warming from all the carbon goodness
The new airbox is pretty much done with only a few finishing touches needed. Overall the system is identical to the existing air box except the throttle body opening has been opened up to 75mm vs. the OE 60-62mm. This will be a very useful for the next engine.
Also if you’re interesting in purchasing an air box system, please PM me privately. I’m still working out the pricing, options, and time frame but I can definitely help you with acquiring one.
Stronger brake ducts
New reinforced brake ducts are also on their way soon. These pieces are thicker and will offer more rigidity in the event of an off-track excursion or in the splitter bottoms out.
New mirrors and floor tray
I’ve been in talks with a few shops in Europe that deal with WRC and BTCC cars and was able to acquire some Spa Technique carbon mirrors with custom pre-preg mirror bases. Plus I was able to get a used carbon floor tray as well. More to come on after the pieces arrive in the states, plus more to come on some other carbon goodness (zero fiberglass, 100% lightweight pre-preg carbon all the way).