So on Monday I was invited down to Goodwood race circuit by the head of mission motorsport to help celebrate their 7th year as a charity. The aim for the day was to take benificaries of the charity out for some hot laps of the circuit. The list of cars was something else with a vast mix of exotic cars like the Maclaren F1, Ferrari 488, Porsche 911 gt3 rs to all out race cars like E30 M3’s, radicals and a whole host of others including my own.
Everyone was allocated a garage with a sign (which I now have in the workshop office)
Weather stayed dry and the day had a good turnout with people with all sorts of back story’s but all with the same love of cars, met some great people and they all loved the hot laps. The circuit itself is great, very fast and favours the brave. The little old lady was 101 years old and she was out all day getting blasted around the circuit and she absolutely loved it!
Great day had by all and even got interviewed for a retro/classic car magazine. Couple of pictures of the day
Car help up well only issue being a cracked exhaust manifold making the map rich and the master cylinder seals to the reservoir leaking but both easy fixes.
Finally got round to building my simulator set up, with games like "Project cars 2 and Gran Tourismo" most of the main UK tracks are on there so it really helps to familiarise the layouts and make mental notes of brake markers and turn in points.
Treated the engine to a new manifold, went for the Tullet 3". can see the size difference next to the old piper. Had to modify the downpipe, moved the flexy and lambda position. Once done heat wrapped it and got it fitted.
New set of tyres ready for the season, went for 245 up front and 235 rears. Also got the new team branded race suits so we all look like power rangers.
Few first race was at brands hatch indy
Qualifying went well, seeing me P6 and P8 (1st in class) for race one and two, not too bad to say it was wet and I was on semi slicks doue to rain just before we went out.
Race one was a disaster as launching it off the line it killed the equal length inner cv joint ending my race on the line, thankfully no one hit me on the way through.
Car sustained a bit of damage on the restart to race two where a stranded M3 on the line I had to swerve to avoid but then got hit myself, skirt held up well just some of the jell coat chipped off from the wheel, rest polished off.
Cars been suffering since it was built with fuel starvation on long bends if I run low on fuel so dug out the old cross fuel set up, modified it to suit the astra and made a box to meet MSA regs, fitted it all on rubber bobbins to cut down on noise and vibrations. Replaced the filters as they were well past there best.
Removed all the old lines and fitted a new wide angle rear view mirror.
Finished off the aero by making a front splitter, 12mm marine ply. All chassis mounted and strong enough for me to jump up and down on, routed the edge to tidy it up and painted matt black
With adding weight of the splitter and fuel system I wanted to try and offset that, so whipped the boot hinges off and some inner metal work. The front doors also had the door bar bit removed. Rear boot lid got some quik latch buttons to hold it down solid again
Final few jobs ticked off the list prior to races at Angelsey coastal circuit
So after a 9 1/4 hour drive up from Poole to Angelsey (north Wales) finally got all set up with the team
Our series runs a power to weight class system so I decided to get check weighed, without me and with me, running just under 1/2 a tank. Our race is taken after the race so can knock off the 21kg as that amount of fuel would be gone now the swirl pot system is fitted.
Qualifying went well getting P8 and P9 for race 1 and 2 despite the car still running very rich at 10.2 at WOT so losing power and I've never driven the track before I managed a 1:20.59 with a optimum time of 1:18.10 so I was happy.
Race 1 lined up on the green flag lap, practice started the car and snapped the passenger drive shaft clean in half, so that was the end of that. Thinking about it it must be from when I've killed outer cv joints in the past, the heat must of removed the heat treatment from the shaft end making it brittle.
Thankfully I always carry spares so swapped it out and I was ready for race 2. I was gentle off the line losing a place or two but battled back to finish P8 3rd in class. Some good battles throughout.
Race 3 was a 25 minute reverse start handicap race, slowest car starts first and fastest last based on your fastest time from races, slower cars start with laps in hand, 85 second delayed start through the whole field. I started 13th and despite lapping cars I gained 3 places to finish P10. So good battles at the start and a good final lap last corner overtake. I forgot to turn the traction control off for the first few laps, also forgot to shut the door properly so had to keep pulling the window back in ha ha https://youtu.be/SaLHwaaU_8c
I’ve got to the bottom of the shaft snapping issue, I think the previous CV joint failures has made the shaft brittle. You can clearly see the old shaft is discoloured at the end from heat damage, new shaft has non.
Dug out a old genuine CV joint and cleaned all the old grease out and gave it a spray to look presentable, measured the outer that broke on the J&R one and as you can see there is a fair bit of size difference.
1st, when the shaft failed, it was due to a circumferencial crack the progated towards the centre and then, when there wasn't enough material left, it failed.
2nd, you can see some twisting of the spines in the lock ring groove which suggests the shaft was over stressed for the manufacturer's heat treatment (or your post manufacture re-treating) and/or material and/or it had (an) excessively high torque applied.
3rd, hard to be sure but it looks like the groove may have been cut with a sharp edged tool - those transitions are already stress risers and a sharp edge, with possible tearing, is a big problem!
4th, looks like you are measuring two different parts of the shafts - one the overall diameter and the other the boot retaining groove diameter - wrong picture(s)?
In sum, looks like the shaft simply wasn't up to the job - possible initially but, as you suggest, the heat from the joint failure could easily have removed the critical heat treatments required for use.
I understand that basic engine assembly was used in the USoA, for drage racing, so I'd suggest confirming that and seeing what you can source from the specialists over there - they have some FWD 'imports' running well over 1000 WHEEL horsepower through drag slicks reliably, so should be able to sort something out for your needs. It may be quite expensive, especially if they have to be custom made, but when you figure in what you're already spending for inadaquate shafts and the expenses entailed with wasted weekends where they fail, might be 'cheap' in the end.
That shaft has from memory had 3 outer CV joints fail on it now, one in spectacular fashion
So the heat has definitely lead to material break down, agree the clip retaining grove is cut very sharply but appears all GM shafts are like that for this engine type.
GM shafts can take huge abuse via drag use so I'm confident I've not snapped it with torque as I lost traction first then it sheared whilst using the clutch to regain traction and all below 5000rpm.
The vernier measurements are of a CV joint, one a pattern part made by J&R and the other a OEM part made by NKR (iirc) the measurement is of the outer collar that slides over the equal length haft which is bolted to the block. OEM one has over 2mm more circumference material than the pattern part.
Few little jobs I needed to do, standard washer jets are terrible so swapped them for some insignia mist jets, they give a much better coverage.
Also got some push button bonnet pins and replacement CV joints to build up the and fit the new shaft.
With fitting bonnet pins it’s allowed me to do away with the standard cable pull mechanism and allow me to cut any un needed metal out, saved a total of 3.5kgs which isn’t too bad really.
Since fitting the 888 kit I’ve found after every race a massive pile of dead rubber and stones, that pile is about 2” high. Made some plastic guards to stop the tyre flicking stuff in
Fitted the new Racelogic vbox HD2 camera kit, looking forward to overlaying videos and data to help improve driving, track and car set up.
Race day was a mixed one, a mistake by me (trusted the fuel gauge and ended up nearly running out so had to pull in early) in qualifying put me down in 14th and 15th for race 1 & 2 so I had my work cut out fighting back up the field.
Race 1 went well, not the best starts as the clio cup car in front stalled and I had to try and avoid.
Ended up finishing 7th and 3rd in class so not too bad.
Race 2 same sketch really, fought my way up to 5th and 1st in class but 4 laps from the end the gear cable end plastic cap popped off leaving me stuck in 3rd gear so caused me to retire.
Got joint fastest lap for class B so that’s silver lining I suppose.
So after a stone smashing the window in race 1 and various other chips I found Asda had a sale on these, seen others use them with good results, so at that price I thought I’d stock up!
After watching my videos back I felt the cameras were too far away and focused more on the in car, only real downside to the vbox is the cameras are really wide angle. I’ve move the rear camera about 20”s further back to near the aerial hole and the front camera about 3”s closer (can’t really go anymore without making a new mount) so hopefully will improve the videos in future.
Races are here:
Race 1: https://youtu.be/VChJ2WRuj-A
Race 2: https://youtu.be/dzV5b4tyVQw
Go pro footage of race 2: https://youtu.be/Okj67Zc6fBI
Between race improvements. Inlet temps were getting on the hot side so decided to make the most of what I had. I'd noticed the grill wasn't that open so cut the metal back as far as it could go and trimmed the plastic grill to suit. Should allow more cold air flow over the supercharger and towards the air filter.
Next to was to move the oil cooler over 2" to allow better flow to the intercooler
Then cut the front of the upper out and boxed the intercooler in to stop air going around it and direct it through it. Used some foamed type stuff to cut to shape, paint and bond on. Now have a much larger surface area of the intercooler getting air flow. Saved 2.5kg in the process. Plan to move the oil cooler elsewhere over the winter.
Removing the final few kg's is getting desperate, cut the last of the un needed rear panel and made a air deflector to stop the bumper acting as a air drag. 1kg saved.
One mod I've been wanting to do for years is make a brace bar set up for the rear beam. This helps stop the beam distorting when under load mid corner and changing the geo setting.
Left and right handed joints and inserts and made some brackets to hold it all
This has also allowed me to fine tune the rear toe baby slightly pre loading the bars to achieve the toe required
Other jobs were to move the mirror slightly back as I found it too close to my face and to cut up the standard tool over valve out the filler neck and attach that to the rear chassis leg in case I really run out of talent and stick it on its roof
Don't think I ever posted what I fitted in the fuel box so here it is, two filters, 1 litre swirl pot and a Bosch 044
Final bit of weight saving really wasn't worth the hassle, few hours work hole sawing the doors for a mear 700 grams. All adds up I suppose ha ha
Snetterton race day got off to a crap start, weather was terrible so swapped to my wets only for 3 of the studs snapping when torquing them up, looks like this has happened over time by the shear face, must of been a knock on effect from crash and joints and shaft failures. Either way very lucky not to happen on track. Quickly chiseled the old snapped bits from the hub and un wound from the back with mole grips. Sourced some spare wheel nuts and managed to get out in the last qualifying session. Due to missing my own meant I had to start at the back for both races.
Few pictures from a very wet qualifying
Race 1, started at the back in 38th place setting off I get into 3rd gear and went to change into 4th and the gear cable end popped off again, so I was then stuck in 3rd gear for the whole race, made the most of it, trying not to blow m,y engine up on the straights feathering the throttle. I fought my way through the pack and finished 17th.
Race 2, rain had stopped but circuit was still slippy and damp but with a dry line, I made the call to stay on wets while 70% of the grid changed to drys. I again started at the back in 38th, nursed it off the line and through the gears hoping my zip tie fix would hold, got myself up to 12th only for the cable end to come off again 2 laps from the end leaving me stuck in 3rd again so I carried on and finished 13th narrowly missing out on 3rd in class B
So the Birket Silverstone GP 6 hour endurance race was a very very wet one!
As a team we worked well and all cars performed well, I did a hour and quarter stint and the car was faultless, handling in the wet was un real and managed a 2.50 in traffic which was a top 10 time which I was happy with as there were plenty of faster cars such as radicals and such like.
Race was cut 20 minutes short unfortunately which didn't work in our favour as we were running in second in class but lapping 10 seconds a lap faster than the team in 1st so only needed one more lap to overtake them. Either way we finished second in class so still a great result.
That was the last race in that car for the season so time to take in apart again and improve some bits, mainly the underpowered engine, at its peak this engine made 267bhp but when changing engines I had the injectors cleaned, didn't realise how bad they were and once back in the car caused it to run really rich with a 10.2 to 10.3 AFR at full throttle, this must of knocked power down to more like 230-240bhp so putting right near the bottom of my power to weight class (240bhp per ton after race weight with me in it).
So with the engine out it was time to strip the engine down and build a better one.
Stripped all my spare Z22SE's to find the best crank, cams and head
First job was to strip the head, valves all out and decided to cut off and weld up the un used EGR valve
Next job was to start porting the really restrictive exhaust manifold ports, then smooth the casting marks out on the inlet side and combustion area. Clean the valves up and re lap. I've fitted Saab B207R exhaust valves as they are sodium filled better at dealing with higher temps.
Then into the parts cleaner before re assembling, used Dbilias motorsport uprated valve springs so that can up the revs to 8k rpm
With the head complete it was time to build the short block, I'd bought a Saab B207R block some years ago as I wanted to run the under piston oil squirters to aid with cooling, decided to take them out before the block went to the machine shop and turns out all the springs inside had either failed or were about to so had to buy new ones.
I'd bought some forged pistons about 4 years ago so took them down to the machine shop to have the block re bored to suit the +20 thou pistons.
I also bought some Eagle steel rods at a similar time so dug them out the spares cupboard, went to assemble to to soon find out they won't fit. I was told they were for the Z22SE but only when getting the pins out I soon realised they weren't. Turns out they are for the American 2.0L turbo LSJ engine which runs a larger 23mm pin instead of the smaller 20mm pin.
So all in all I'd had a nightmare and I had to think fast as it was fast approaching the mapping date of the 31st of march with the first race on the 5th of April.
So onto plan B, take apart the engine I had been using as it's a solid low mileage (53K) one and basically change the rods, Saab head gasket, ARP head studs, oil pump side cover gasket and bolted the head on.
While the engine was out I stripped the sound deadening off the bulkhead and gave it a quick squirt of paint and re made a plate for the water pipes.
I also took the diff to Gripper to get a service and have the ramp angle change to make it more aggressive.
Had some spare ARP flywheel bolts from a old C20LET engine so trimmed them down to suit and fitted.
While the engine was out I rebuilt the gearbox into the low milage box off the vectra b so stripped the shafts out and changed the bell housing, modded the housing to take the front gearbox mount and drilled for the larger breather.
I also sourced a 4.41 final drive and crown wheel from a American Saturn Vue so built it all back up, should be a lot better on track now as always found 3rd and 4th really long with the 3.95 fd.
Next improvement was to make a larger inlet manifold, previous design worked well but I wanted to future proof myself and give myself as bigger volume as I could, 3" inlet and 2 1/2" outlet (from charger). I've designed it around potentially running the throttle body post charger if thats possible
New injectors, yank ones that flow the same as VXR blues, didn't end up using the heat shields.
Engine and box assembled ready to go back in, once back in fitted inlet up and spent far too long messing about with the dipstick tube to get it to sit how I wanted.
Inlet piped up, blow off valve boss welded on and inlet temp boss moved into inlet pipe
Other jobs were to fix the small leak from the fuel rail, the after market dash fittings only have one seal on one of the fittings weirdly, worked for a while but then leaked, so cut down an old standard fuel pipe and then on top of that I added a injector seal that when done up acts as the seal and works a treat.
Bought a new ITG enclosed filter, really wanted this to help reduced inlet temps further, I'm happy with inlet temps currently seeing a peak of 45 degrees after a 20 minute race but I'd like to get down into the low 30 degrees if thats possible so had to add a 3" cold air feed, hole sawed the inner wing to allow space so had to make a smaller 1 litre washer tank
So I needed a feed for the filter so made up a feed box which takes air from the intercooler cut out, meshed it to stop it sucking in all the dead rubber on the track. Siliconed and sprayed the panel and mesh black after the picture.