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Old 12-01-2014, 08:24 PM   #21
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Default Truck Shopping, Cage Prep, A Road Trip and a Christmas Tree - A Tale of my last Week

"Stealth" is now at the cage builder. My son and I delivered the car yesterday noon-ish and it will hopefully be coming home December 20th.

But rewind a week and a day and I had no truck, no trailer, a car that wasn't ready for the cage builder and a busy three day work week.

Last Saturday morning I was truck shopping. I had been going back and forth between buying a combo tow vehicle / family vehicle or buying a cheaper, junky truck that would solely be for towing. I was looking mostly at 2008-2010 Chevy Suburbans and GMC Yukons for the combo deal. The 1/2 Suburbans have a tow rating of 7100 or 8100 lbs depending on the rear end ratio, but most are rated at 7100 lbs.

I'd been looking for Suburbans for almost a month and wasn't having much lucking finding one that was <100,000 miles, <$20,000 and had a clean carfax. Also, the Suburban was always going to be a compromise, a not very good tow vehicle (only 7100 lbs, integrated bumper/hitch, not enough torque, bad mpgs) and a not very good family vehicle (higher miles, no sliding doors, bad mpgs) compared to our minivan. So last Saturday I started looking for a cheap ($7000 and under) 3/4 ton+ truck that would be strictly for towing.

So here's how the story goes:


Saturday - Nov. 22nd

Find a 2003 F-250 Powerstroke on Craigslist. Uhhh....this one actually 2003 Ford F-250 Diesel 130k

A friend who is a Dodge fan thought I could find a cummins for the same price but I hadn't seen one of any sort under $10,000 on CL for some time. Anyway, found this truck (dodge 2500 ram cummins QUAD CAB) which seemed like a decent deal and had been for sale for a couple weeks.

So I drove 130 miles round trip to see the 2000 Dodge Cummins. It was in decent shape, but it didn't run especially well until warmed up and the guy didn't have paperwork for the injection pump or the transmission. Those are two things on the 1998.5-2002 Cummins that would have had to have been changed at least one time in a truck with ~240k miles.

I offered the guy $5900, one thousand dollars per liter. He scoffed, said his bottom dollar was $6500. I upped my offer to $6200. He didn't accept so we went our separate ways.

I went home, took my kids to a church free day care thing, and took my wife to a movie (something we almost never do).

That night I continued preparing the car for the cage builder, I needed to pull the dash out, remove some other interior stuffs, take the a/c out, etc. etc. Meanwhile one of my buddies in Ohio who is also a Cummins fan started surfing NC craigslists for other trucks.

He found a brown turd of a 1998.5 Dodge Ram 2500 that was listed for $6000 that had 40k less miles than the one I had just looked at, had a rebuilt transmission, and had some nice aftermarket parts. It had been listed for 18 days so I didn't think it would still be available, but I texted the guy, he still had the truck, and I tentatively set up a time to see it on Sunday.


Sunday - Nov. 23rd

Went to breakfast with my Cousin and her fiancee, who were in town from Kansas City. After breakfast I confirmed the guy was available to see the brown turd truck and set up a time. The truck was ~2+ hours away (230 mile round trip). Killed most of a day seeing the truck, it was in decent shape and the guys seemed reasonably honest. It ran better than the 2000 I'd driven the day before, but the interior and body were in worse condition. I asked the guy what is bottom line was and he said $5500. I told him I was pretty interested at that price, but I would sleep on it.

Went back home and continued working on the car.


Monday - Nov. 24th

Work a full day, and consult with my Cummins friends. They both think it's an alright deal so I text the guy telling him I wanted to buy it, and we set up a time Tuesday morning for me to pick up the truck.

Monday night I continue working on the car and start to try to figure out a trailer for the weekend.


Tuesday - Nov. 25th

Took 1/2 day of vacation in the morning, drove to pick up the truck with my wife and kids, another 230 mile round trip. Get to his credit union to pay off his lien and find out the title isn't actually there but at their main office in Raleigh. Leave with the truck and no title. Drive back home with the truck, and work the rest of the day. Spend Tuesday night working on the car some more.


Wednesday - Nov. 26th

Work most of a full day. The guy's bank sends the title to the branch office for him to sign and mail to me. They won't notarize the title because I'm not there. I call the head NC DMV office and confirm only the sellers signature needs to be notarized. Their stupid notary still won't sign the title. So we agree to meet halfway between in Rockingham to do the title work. I leave work a little early and drive 90 miles round trip to get the stupid title, and am happy to find out I am able to get the truck tagged and title all at once.

So Wednesday night I have a tagged, and titled truck and it's looking like I might have a chance of actually getting the car to the cage builder in Akron, OH by Sunday.

Wednesday night = more work on prepping the car.


Thursday - Nov. 27th

Spend most of the day drinking wine and helping my wife make Thanksgiving. Also get some time to work on the car.


Friday - Nov. 28th

My wife has a couple photo shoots scheduled Friday morning so I have to daddy-day-care it while picking up towing supplies. I still don't have a trailer lined up but finally my neighbor across the street is available to ask about borrowing his trailer. Find out his trailer is too narrow for a car and hasn't had much if any maintenance in the last 10 years. Run to the UHaul down the street and rent a car hauler. After rounding up a trailer, we drive 70 miles round trip (in the new truck) to get a Christmas tree. We kill a couple of hours at the Christmas tree farm. I get home and start freaking out because I still have 6+ hours of work to do on the car and we needed to leave at like 9AM Saturday morning.

I do as much as I can getting the car ready and finally get to bed at like 1AM.


Saturday - Nov. 29th

Wake up Saturday, my wife has some more photo sessions and I still have a few last minute things to do on the car and need to load it up. Check the oil in the truck, that was the extent of my preparation for a ~1100+ mile tow.

Load the car, some clothes, and my 3.5 year old son in the truck and head towards Ohio. We leave about 10AM.

Drive from Waxhaw, NC to Raymond, OH.

It looked like this:






Get to my friends house in Raymond, OH (about 1000 yards from where I used to work) about 7PM and have Thanksgiving with his family.

Averaged 17.5mpg towing the car and trailer through the mountains of VA and WV. Truck does mostly perfect. It's loud on the highway because it lacks a muffler, but other than that it tows really, really well. Did 500 miles on Saturday, truck never complained, my son never complained, etc. etc.


Sunday - Nov. 30th

Sunday morning check out my buddies recently LS-swapped Chevy S10 and his ~7 year old daughter bombs around his place with my son in her new 150cc SxS.

Hop back in the truck and drive 2.5 hours from Raymond, OH to the cage shop in Akron, OH. Drop the car off, tell the cage builder all of the extras I want him to do, and then hop back in the truck towing an empty trailer.

We get some lunch



and start back towards North Carolina.

505 miles down I-77. Truck never complained once, my son never complained once. He was a road-tripping machine. 18 hours in the truck over a 36 hour period. He never whined, complained, got bored, anything the entire way. Truck gets 19.0 mpg towing the empty UHaul trailer back through the mountains.

Hit lots of traffic on I-77. I think there were four accidents in a 20 mile span just south of the WV border. Finally get home about 11pm last night. Dump the trailer back at the UHaul place down the street.



IN SUMMARY

So in one week I:

Bought a truck

Did 20+ hours of prep work on the Prelude

Drove something like 1875 miles between truck shopping, getting a Christmas tree, and getting the car to the cage builder.
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Old 01-12-2015, 07:51 PM   #22
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Default Roll Cage

Happy New Year!


I CAN HAZ CAGE?





















No, I'm not running a radiator in the back, that's just a spare rad I picked up in Ohio that's still sitting in the "back seat".


Lots of work to do. Lots of money to spend. I still need to buy a trailer. And sell my civic. And finish building a race car.

First race is March 28th at VIR.

Last edited by Efini~FC3S; 01-12-2015 at 08:03 PM.
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Old 01-13-2015, 12:50 AM   #23
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Dang. Sweet cage.
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Old 01-13-2015, 08:08 AM   #24
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Dang. Sweet cage.
Thanks.

I knew there was a reason I drove past umpteen cage builders on the way to Akron, OH. This guy's work is darn near impeccable. Sorry for the poor pictures, I'll try to get some better ones and maybe some close ups of some of the detail work.
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Old 01-24-2015, 11:46 PM   #25
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#becauseracecar


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Old 01-25-2015, 01:39 AM   #26
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Props for the road trip with your kid. Some of my very best memories was jumping in the truck with Dad and going someplace. Talking about dirt bikes and whatever else along the way.

I love your truck. Again.
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Old 01-25-2015, 10:41 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by turbofan View Post
Props for the road trip with your kid. Some of my very best memories was jumping in the truck with Dad and going someplace. Talking about dirt bikes and whatever else along the way.

I love your truck. Again.
+1 second favorite truck body right there.
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Old 01-25-2015, 11:25 AM   #28
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If I read another story about some fatherless boy being raised by an X-box . . . .

Here's to MEN that marry their wives for the long haul and raise SONS!! The country is in desperate need of this.
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Old 01-26-2015, 12:58 PM   #29
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cage is beautiful. i like the radiator mounting too... very innovative
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Old 01-30-2015, 12:22 AM   #30
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Default Things...they've been happening.

Lots of things have been happening.

I've been working on the car almost every night. I'm signed up for the NASA weekend at CMP Feb. 7-8 to run the car through it's first test. I've been so busy working on the car that I haven't had time to post about it on the internetz...imagine that. First race is March 28th at VIR. Seefo has foolishly signed up to be one of the drivers, as has my uncle. Lots and lots of work to be done by March 26th but for now the task is to get the car mechanically ready for the first test.

SO


Here's the "TO DO" list for the HPDE in ~ one week. The list for the first race is much, much longer...




I tore the suspension apart to cut the OEM springs (#becauseChumpCar) and install some Tokico blues (#because2014ChumpCar).



I've never cut springs before... #becauseREALracecar



As you can see from the post on the 24th...I had some wheels and tires mounted. I put some race car tires and race car wheels on the car and then put it on the ground with the cut springs. So it looked all race car like...and I felt better about everything.



NATURALLY ChumpCar changed the shock/damper rule for 2015 YESTERDAY morning. So as of right now I'm not sure what damper I'll be running. Either the Tokicos I have installed, or some Progress Technology Integra dampers that may or may not fit the newest 2015 rules. I installed one of the Progress dampers with the cut springs, and then installed some hood pins. Because race cars have hood pins. How the car looks as of ~30 minutes ago.




In the background of the last picture you can see some wood veneer that I have purchased to make some air dams (plural) with. Behind that veneer sheet is a plywood sheet...for a splitter.



For no ones benefit I'll list the current build plan / car spec / how to build a Prelude ChumpCar that won't be that competitive guide:

BFG Rivals 225/45/15 Front - 205/50/15 Rear

Suspension Techniques(sp?) 1" Solid Rear Sway Bar

Tokico Blue HP Dampers w/ cut OEM Springs

OR

Progress Technology coilover kit for a 1990-1993 Acura Integra w/ cut OEM springs.

15x7 Motegi crap 4x114.3 wheels

'93-'94 Acura Legend GS Front Calipers and Rotors

25mm front wheel spacers/adapters

Moog Adjustable Front Upper Ball Joints

Carbotech RP2 front pads, Carbotech XP8 rear pads

Ebay Cold Air Intake

Ebay 2.5" Cat-back exhaust and cat delete pipe. (OEM header)

Lexan rear window and rear quarters

Wood air dam and splitter (to be made)

Rear "spoiler" of some sort





Work will re-commence tomorrow evening. My wife has approximately a dozen photo shoots scheduled this weekend so track day shake down prep and fatherly obligations are going to be going head to head this weekend. Good thing there's no good football or basketball games on to distract me!
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Old 01-30-2015, 10:35 AM   #31
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I guess I should throw VIR on my calendar now. Since it is only a 12 hour race are you planning on staying Saturday night and camping or packing it all up and going home then?

What type of meat do we want smoked?
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Old 01-30-2015, 10:53 AM   #32
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What's the rule changes for '14/'15 that is screwing with your shock choice?
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Old 01-30-2015, 11:41 AM   #33
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What's the rule changes for '14/'15 that is screwing with your shock choice?
original rule change said any non-rebuildable non-adjustable shock that fits in the 2x rule.

lots of people complained because "my racecar has shitty shocks, but this honda/bmw/toyota can run something much better".


The rule was recently changed to any shock that is non-adjustable that fits the 2x rule. so rebuildable shocks can now be ran.

<sarcasm> so basically everyone is going to run bilsteins with ridiculous rebound to try and have a stiff car, but they will fail and die.
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Old 01-30-2015, 12:00 PM   #34
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I guess I should throw VIR on my calendar now. Since it is only a 12 hour race are you planning on staying Saturday night and camping or packing it all up and going home then?

What type of meat do we want smoked?
Yes...you absolutely should put it on your schedule. We will likely be staying in a hotel in Danville Friday and Saturday night.

All the meats!!! But honestly...whatever you prefer. You're the chef.


Quote:
Originally Posted by curly View Post
What's the rule changes for '14/'15 that is screwing with your shock choice?
At the end of last year they released the 2015 amended rules which added shocks/dampers to the 2X rule. Up till 2015 you had to run OEM equivalent dampers or pay some point penalty.

Adding shocks to the 2X rule was a big change, you are now allowed to run "performance" dampers as long as they are less than 2x the cost of OEM replacement dampers.

Initially the 2015 rule said that any damper was allowed as long as it was A: non-adjustable and B: non-serviceable, non-rebuildable.

Much whining, crying and politicking ensued because everyone wants to run Bilstein B6s or B8s but some are "rebuildable" and some are not.

This Wednesday they revised the rule and basically got rid of the part that said the shocks couldn't be rebuildable or serviceable. They also re-worded the rule on adjustable shocks trying to make it as clear as possible that no adjustability of any sort is allowed. Unfortunately they've opened the door to custom valved dampers which is another can of worms.

In my case I wasn't sure if the Bilsteins for the Prelude were rebuildable or not, so I bought some Tokico Blues because I knew they would meet the 2015 rules no matter what and the were cheap. Now that they've changed the rules the set of Progress dampers I have may be legal, and they are likely significantly better than the Tokicos.

All in all I have at least one set of legal dampers and I'm waiting for the regional tech guy to get back to me regarding the other set. I'm sort of in limbo until I get a response.
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Old 01-31-2015, 11:32 AM   #35
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Still waiting to hear back from the ChumpCar tech people so I know which dampers to test with NEXT FRIGGEN WEEKEND!!!

So since I'm at a hold with suspension work I started working on Aero.

Based on some excellent recommendations here ---> Post your DIY aero pics

and because of ChumpCar rules I'll be attempting to make an airdam out of 1/8" wood veneer.

So I started working on the air dam last night.


Started with a 4'x8' sheet of 1/8" veneer from Lowes Racing ($20), I picked the cheapest "flexiest" stuff I could find



Used a drywall T to cut straight lines. From this one sheet I will be making four air dams. One 7" tall, two 8" tall, and one 9" tall. I wasn't sure which height to use because I don't know how much the body will roll (sort of depends on damper issue above) so I figured I'd make different heights. I think 8" will be about right so that's what size I'm making first.



8"x96" strip of veneer ready for mock-up




I like to use interior plastic pop-click fastener clip thingies on the top attachment to bumper fascia. Makes for easy install/removal and if you use enough of them they can sufficiently fasten the top of the air dam.




I used 7 cents worth of material to make a bob and the Honda badge to try to center things as much as possible. Shadetree...






Started at the center and then drilled holes every ~6" for more clips.




This is about where I stopped last night. The veneer isn't flexy enough to make the more severe bends around corners of the bumper. I'll take the damn off and cut/sand some slots in the back side to give more flexibility in those areas.




Once I finish the air dam I'll get started on a spletter/undertray. That'll be made with ~3/8" pine plywood.

Really hoping I hear from ChumpCar tech sooner than later...also I should be getting brake pads in the mail today...hopefully.
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Old 01-31-2015, 11:50 PM   #36
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Still haven't heard anything back from ChumpCar tech and didn't get my brake pads in the mail so..... MOAR AERO!!!



Finished the air dam. I'm fairly happy with how it turned out.




Cut out a splitter blade from ~3/8" pine plywood. This one extends ~2" from the air dam. I will likely make another one that only extends 1" depending on how the test goes next weekend.




Splitter mocked up. I need to devise a way to mount and support it with as little as hardware as possible. ChumpCar places a value on the hardware used as well as the materials to make the splitter...






Final bit of work for today was cutting a hood vent. Unfortunately, the "STEALTH" logo will have to go the way of the dodo. I'm having an unnaturally effeminate reaction to this loss...






One of these days I'll take a decent photo with decent lighting. For now you'll have to deal with 11pm iPhone photos w/ crappy garage lighting.
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Old 02-11-2015, 08:27 AM   #37
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First test in the ChumpLude went almost perfectly.




Overall the car was pretty good it's first time out. It still has 100+ lbs to lose, weight to take off the front end, alignment dialed in more, more aero, a lil more power, etc etc. I was mostly pleased with how it performed though.

In the video I was running the car out of fuel to see how it behaves. IE does it run perfectly right up till it's out of gas or does it give some warning before really running out. In the video you can see it hiccup on lap two or three when coming out of the last corner. It did that two laps in a row and then the last lap it really had a big lurch and that's when I pulled in. This is GOOD! The car can run 4-6 minutes (at least) after the first hiccup which is very helpful.

I started the weekend with a full tank and never added fuel. I did 7 sessions over the two days totaling about 125 minutes before it really starting running out of fuel. This was an important stress test, we need to be able to run 115-120 minute stints to be competitive in ChumpCar.

Car was on BFG R1 tires in the video, so the lap times and general grip level are better than what they'll be on the BFG Rivals. I didn't want to waste the only set if 225/15 Rivals I have on this test, so I used up tires that are 2x expensive.

Best lap of the weekend was supposedly around a 1:54, which would have put me 2nd in TTD in what can only be described as the worst, most poorly built TTD car ever.
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Old 02-11-2015, 08:30 AM   #38
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Old 02-12-2015, 08:22 AM   #39
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Getting the full 120min out of a stint is great. We've been able to stretch some really good mileage out of Miata's 10gal tank. The only time its failed us was due to a refueling error, so always make sure you refueler knows all the tricks to get all the gas out of the can into the car.
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Old 02-12-2015, 07:07 PM   #40
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Love the car, the build, the cage and the driving! What did the official say to you?
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