A Brutal Stretch (updated 08/28 with pics!)

Our luck simply has not improved. The team’s intent was to race at both races scheduled over the July 4th weekend. As you might recall from the previous entry, we got a flat in the previous race. Just prior to that occurring there were some driveline issues that manifested themselves. But, with a flat, there was no way to diagnose further. Given that fact, we elected to take a trek to a track we hadn’t been to before for an open practise session. The beautiful evening was cut short when the same problem occurred prior to even taking the green. 5 laps were taken under yellow to confirm “yup, it’s still doing it” and back on the trailer the car went.

Conversations with the ESDCA elders confirmed that the problem was a clutch and plans starting being put together on how to repair. Little did we know what was in store for the 2 days we had left before the races.

The next day was simply for obtaining parts. We only had one day prior to the holiday to get everything. We called (and drove) all over upstate NY. By the time the night was over we had everything, especially thanks to Jeff Barker, the Gwilts, and Fernando Fiore. We started bright and early the next morning, receiving reinforcements mid-day from FSAE alum Anthony Capobianco, who was eager to put his Magna Drivetrain knowledge to use.

clutch_01

Everything was reassembled and checked. One last adjustment was made and the cover was put back on. I hopped in, fired it up, threw it in gear, and proceeded to head unabated for both a tree and Derek’s car. The last adjustment caused it to remain stuck in gear once engaged. The oil was drained, cover pulled, clutch fixed, reassembled, oiled back up, refired and was good to go. The track was called to indicate we were coming late. Sure enough we showed just as the first heat was going on the track. It only took
two laps in our heat to learn – it wasn’t the clutch.

gear_01

The car was parked for the heat, and got to turn one lap in the feature before turning to the infield (a great place to watch a flip, by the way). Back in the pits a new diagnosis was obtained – an axle was shot. Saturday found a new project, as we learned how to pull the axles. But strangely, both looked fine. A quick peek into the birdcage found the culprit – a broken rear. It didn’t take long for the epiphany to follow – “hey, we have a spare one of those”!

rear_01

We taught ourselves on the fly and swapped it out. But we ran out of time, getting done 30 minutes too late to make it to the track on time. There was still plenty of daylight however, so we seemingly proved that it worked in Derek’s backyard. We were now able to leave 2 patches under acceleration, instead of a wimpy single one.

test_01

The last trip to NY was not any better, as we longed to venture back to Utica-Rome on the 20th (conveniently my dad’s birthday). Unrelenting moistness caused an end to that hope. And the threat of further impending weather shelved any chance of a return trip the following weekend. That all being said we will have had a month off to stare at the new wheels and tyres before stressing them with three races in one weekend starting 8/22. Well, let’s hope to get through one first before pushing our luck too far.

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