GoPro Fall Rental League Round 1 and 2

GoPro Fall Rental League Round 1 and 2

Race Reports
Once again I’ve entered the Sunoco Rental League at GoPro Motorplex, a 5-week, 15 race championship series held once each Spring, Summer and Fall. This year, each race features the same full-course layout, which is a little disappointing compared to the three different layouts that were run a couple years ago. Nonetheless, the competition is just as fierce as I remembered and at first I was more rusty than I could imagine. In the first round I couldn’t even break the top ten in any of the three races. I qualified poorly (17th, 14th & 14th) and then finished approximately the same (16th, 12th & 15th). Sure, I could blame it on the cold I was fighting, the karts I got, or getting punted in the last race, but there's…
Read More
Why Rental Karting Is Better Than Autocross

Why Rental Karting Is Better Than Autocross

Reviews
This week, I got back to my roots: I went go karting. Specifically, I entered the GoPro Motorplex Fall Rental League. I competed in their rental league two years ago, and I had a blast. After autocrossing through last year and driving thoroughly nothing this year I’ve decided to get back to wheel-to-wheel competition. This is mostly because I’m desperate to race anything, but also because I’ve concluded the following: Rental karting is simply better than autocrossing. Comparing the two is like comparing an apple to a pomegranate. An apple can be eaten immediately and completely without much effort, while eating a pomegranate takes preparation and patience just to get the littlest taste. Each provides its own nutritional value, has its own unique flavor, and can be really good if…
Read More
Taking A Break For What’s Really Important

Taking A Break For What’s Really Important

Uncategorized
Racing can be an all encompassing passion, but sometimes there are more important things in life. In March of 2016 I asked the love of my life to marry me, and we decided that September 3, 2017 would be the day of our wedding. Throughout 2016 I enjoyed autocrossing my car, but by the end of the year a smoke had developed near the turbo that couldn't be ignored. I began fixing it in January, 2017. By April I had removed the engine, replaced the valve cover gaskets, water pump, timing belt and various pulleys, all of the broken vacuum hoses around the turbo, and the right front axle, but I still had not resolved the smoke! It became clear that the project was not going to end any time…
Read More
Product Review: GUNK Engine Degreaser

Product Review: GUNK Engine Degreaser

Reviews
First and foremost, the products used in this review were provided by the manufacturer, GUNK, as tester samples. No compensation was made for the creation of this review. I write this review as an independent consumer of a product that I liked using. With my engine out of the car it was time for some much needed TLC. The engine was coated in baked on oil and dirt, and I really wanted to get it as clean as possible before removing the valve covers and other components. I challenged Gunk and Chemical Guys to a cylinder head-to-head competition, and Gunk provided me with samples to use. I can say with confidence that using it to clean the engine outside of the car was probably the most time consuming method creating…
Read More
New Springs in the House

New Springs in the House

Repairs and Upgrades
A sale on lowering springs that aren't low-rider crap?? I'm in! They're not the raciest springs available but they'll bring the platform down about an inch and increase the spring rate at each corner. I'm expecting a little more slalom speed from the reduced roll. What springs are you running on your WRX or other autocross car?
Read More
How To: Replace a Front Axle on a 2002-03 WRX

How To: Replace a Front Axle on a 2002-03 WRX

Repairs and Upgrades
[caption width="300" id="attachment_735" align="alignright"] Yes that grease is burned onto the exhaust heat shield... yes it's going to be a pain to clean.[/caption]This is not an uncommon repair on our favorite bugeyed sporty car, and luckily it's not a difficult one either. The left front axle inboard CV joint sits within inches of the exhaust, so the grease boot experiences excessive thermal stress. The cyclic stresses of constant rotation combined with the heat of the exhaust will cause the boot to tear and eventually split. You can imagine the mess that comes next. Enough time without grease and the bearings in the CV will fail. If you find that you have an axle with a failed boot, then the best course of action is to replace the axle assembly. It may…
Read More
Powertrain Rejuvenation: Getting Dirty

Powertrain Rejuvenation: Getting Dirty

Repairs and Upgrades
Project Powertrain Rejuvenation has officially begun. I started with a compression test while the engine was still in the car so I could rule out any big problems (ring land failure is a classic issue with these WRX's), and the results were great. All four cylinders returned 175-180 PSI after a consistent number of compression cycles, so I'm confident that I don't need to be digging into the internals. The smoking issue still exists, so I ordered up a gasket kit as well as a water pump and timing belt kit. In case there are any other issues I'm taking the engine out anyways, so replacing the water pump and timing belt is a practical measure. (more…)
Read More
Powertrain Rejuvenation: The Rules are the Limit (STX)

Powertrain Rejuvenation: The Rules are the Limit (STX)

Tech Articles
If I'm going to pull the engine for a refresh, there's no reason I couldn't replace my flywheel with the stock version and bump down to a more appropriate class for my budget. As such, I wanted to investigate how far I could go with my engine in Street Touring X. Here's what I compiled from the 1/30/2017 release of the SCCA Solo STX Rules, which can be found here. Oil Pan/Lubrication Any oil pan is acceptable Any oil pickup is acceptable NO addition of, or modification to, windage trays or crank scrapers Thermal Control Radiator can be replaced, BUT must be same as stock (or greater in magnitude) in the following areas: Dry weight Coolant capacity Core dimensions Mounting locations Any water expansion tank is allowed Silicone replacement coolant…
Read More
Powertrain Rejuvenation: The Rules are the Limit (ASP)

Powertrain Rejuvenation: The Rules are the Limit (ASP)

Tech Articles
I have made it abundantly clear, because I am too honest when it comes to racing, that I've installed a lighter-than-stock flywheel in my WRX. This makes me ineligible for the stock, or even STX SCCA classes, and relegates me to A-Street Prepared (ASP). My car is woefully outgunned in this class, but luckily a good opportunity to change classes has arrived. When I pull the motor to do the refresh that I'm planning, I can swap back to my stock flywheel! However, for due diligence, let's take a look at all the things I can do to my engine based on the ASP rulebook. The notes below are compiled from the 1/17/2017 release of the SCCA ASP rule set, which can be found here. Oil Pan/Engine Lubrication MUST retain standard…
Read More
Powertrain Rejuvenation: The Plan

Powertrain Rejuvenation: The Plan

Repairs and Upgrades
My WRX has over 220,000 miles on it, and it is clear that old Bugeye could use a refresh. For a while now the engine has been a little leaky. The oil splatters onto the chassis and suspension all around the turbo, and oil smoke wafts out of the hood scoop when the car comes to a stop. Stopleak and gasket fillers seemed to delay the inevitable, but it is now time to face the music. I'm going to rebuild the engine before the autocross season begins! Over the course of this project I'll be collecting information, compiling guides, and reviewing products. Here's a preview of some of the topics I plan to cover: Oil Analysis: What Does It Mean? Compression Checking How Good Can an $18 USB Boroscope Be?…
Read More