Once again I have slacked on updating the blog, but our car’s appearance in the April 2011 issue of Hemmings Sports and Exotic Car magazine has prompted me to change that. And for the readers of that magazine who have found themselves on our site, you have no doubt already figured out that “Projektzitronen Vorwärtsblick” actually means “Project Lemon - Forward Look,” as the car is actually our 24 Hour of LeMons racer. Jeff Koch, the author of the article, wrote an article on my other car a couple of years ago for Hemmings Muscle Machines, and he knew about my race car and thought it would be a fun April Fool’s prank to play it off as a failed 1950s BMW concept car. Let’s hope the purists take it as a joke like we do!
No idea what I’m talking about? Check out then
Now onto the update from our last race, the “Arse-Freeze-a-Palooza” in December 2010. The event lived up to its name by being cold, windy, and at times rainy. The race started out wet and muddy, and one of our drivers (to remain unnamed) being the first person in the race to spin off the track. He was black flagged and our team was faced with the “Name the AMC” penalty where we had to identify the year and model of 5 AMC cars pictured on flash cards. We were back out on the track in about 5 minutes thanks to my knowledge of obscure American cars.
The rain cleared up and most of Saturday was uneventful with the exception of Kris getting tagged in the rear quarter panel by a Corvair which caused him to barely go off course. Video here: - This incident got us another black flag, which we were able to get out of thanks to our last “get out of jail free” card that we had earned years before. We finished the day in 26th place.
With the day over, part of the team commenced partying whereas I had to embrace the team captain role and insist that we check the car as we were having a few small issues. The right front wheel bearing was getting loud, but we detected no play and decided to leave it. The brakes looked good, and the fluids were topped off. The only other issue we had was the car cutting out and sputtering over 4500 RPM. I spoke to another E30 team and they told me they had the same issue with their car and it was caused by a worn out mass air flow meter. So I decided to fiddle with it, which only made things worse. The car was WAY down on power and popping through the intake. I was getting extremely frustrated with it, but we finally got it running well (Kris road tested it on the highway!) so we called it a night.
The next morning, we fired up the car and it was running horribly once again. We were panicking, as we only had a small amount of time to get the car running before the race started. We started checking everything we could think of and replacing every sensor or component we could. With about 5 minutes left before the start of the race, I suggested that we should change the crank position sensor located on the transmission bellhousing. Thankfully that was the cause of the problem, and we were able to get the car out on the rack about 5 minutes after the green flag dropped.
All of our drivers did great and we were able to work our way up the rankings to 12th place. We noticed that the car had started running hot, and with each pit stop we noticed the coolant starting to boil, but we decided to press on.
I hopped into the car for the last stint of the day, just as rain started to fall again. I told myself to take things easy and was doing pretty well until I downshifted in the wet which locked up the rear tires and sent me into a spin. The car stalled, but I decided to let the car roll backwards off the track to stay out of the racing line. Good thing I did since the car refused to start again. I had to get towed off the track, and the car would crank but not fire. We fiddled with everything possible, and once again I suggested the crank position sensor. Just like last time, the car fired right up. So I headed back out on the track for the last 30 mins of the race. Thankfully the track had dried out and I drove it like I stole it and passed several cars in the last few laps to finish in 26th place. We were hoping for a better finish considering our last two outings resulted in top 10 finishes. But given all of the problems we had, we couldn’t complain. It was obvious that our engine was hurt, and this was its last race.
Once again, many thanks to Mike E. for his great shots of the race which can be found
I’ve decided to basically take the year off from racing. I’ve spent a ton of my free time on LeMons racing over the last three years and it’s time for a break. I recently got engaged, and I have another project car that I have been neglecting, so I’ll have plenty to keep me occupied. But it’s not the end for Prickstine. Over the year, we will modify the roll cage to meet new rules, create a new theme, and address the wounded engine.
We handled the last issue by purchasing a former LeMons E30 with an M50 swap from another team for $250. In BMW-speak, the M50 is a 190-horsepower 24-valve 6-cylinder from a ’90s 3-series. The car itself has major body damage/modifications that won’t allow it to pass current LeMons regulations, but it runs and drives great. $250 for all of the parts needed for a complete swap that will gain us 60 horsepower is a helluva deal! We’ll need to swap the engine into our car and dispose of the other car, but that shouldn’t be too hard. So this will probably be our last update for a while, but keep an eye out as work progresses!