Archive for April, 2008

That’s how we roll

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

There’s been such a flurry of activity on the Porcubimmer recently, I’ve barely had the time to sit down and actually write about it. This past Saturday was mainly a tune-up day. Vince changed the oil and sparkplugs, Scott and Ben replaced the tranny fluid. I tackled the project of how to fit our (not required by the rules) window net, since the seat impeded the spring loaded quick release attached to the cage from working properly. After thinking long and hard about how many different ways I could violate FIA regs, I came up with every racer’s favorite solution for securing things to each other. No, not duct tape, the other one.

Zip ties. Yes. It’s zip tied to the window frame. Which, in any self respecting sanctioning body that actually REQUIRES a window net, would send the tech inspectors screaming and running away crying for their mothers. Since the Lemons folks don’t, we figured this would work. Hey, it stopped a roll of duct tape I threw at Vince while he was sitting in the car, which is basically the reason why it’s on the car. Stop crap from hitting the driver.

Speaking of drivers, with the harness now fully installed, we allowed our… uh, more fuller figured hotshoes to take a fitment test behind the wheel. Ben takes a moment to ask if you can smell what The Rock is cooking.

We also determined that BMW’s stock battery location (in the right rear corner of the trunk) was probably only good for about 4 1/2 laps at Lemons, so Vince donated the battery box from his bitchin’ Camaro to move it to a (slightly) safer location.

See? We actually took the Tecate empties out.

While Ben organized our spare parts into tubs…

…I wired up the cigarette lighter sockets with a switch to power our accessories. Unfortunately, something wasn’t quite right when we went to jumpstart the car to run it and test our cooling fan…

…as the GROUND wire decided to melt all its insulation off once the cables were attached. Yeah. I don’t know either. What I do know is insulation smells bad when it starts smoking. Cough. I decided that discretion was the better part of valor and to leave rewiring that for another day. And to use the power point on the firewall Scott pointed out to me, rather than kludging it into the fusebox as it was before.

So, enter Tuesday afternoon. I rewire the cigarette lighter outlets to the power point and tidy up some interior wiring…

…as well as seal the remaining holes in the floor/firewall to keep the drivers from dying in a fire/from carbon monoxide poisoning. Having finished that, I took a moment to wire up the single most important component to date:

The wiggling trailer hitch bass. It will be mounted where the BMW roundel was on the trunk and it wiggles when you hit the brakes. What does a wiggling bass have to do with a porcupine? Who fucking cares, it’s funny, shut up.

Shortly after that, the rest of the cavalry arrived, and we set about painting with semi-reckless abandon.

After inhaling Rustoleum fumes for the better part of 45 minutes, we decided it was time to roll our handcrafted piece of shit German Engineering into the driveway for some glamour shots.

So we’ve learned that a bunch of drunken slacktards with Rustoleum and cheap Chinese paint rollers can actually put a decent finish on an automobile. It actually has a really nice texture to it when viewed up close. Were this not a Lemons car, we’d probably wet sand it and apply another coat… but, I mean… come on. Really.

Stay tuned, there’s not much time left before the race! This Sunday brings sponsor sticker application and more organizational type activity, pit stop practice, and more, with the quills slated to go on early next week. Check back soon!

-AJ

Small Victories

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

Despite my best efforts to do nothing but sit around and drink beer, the millions of small projects that are left to do on the race car are getting done. Today I worked on covering the gaping hole in the roof that was once what ze Germans called a sunroof.. I applied all the fabricating knowledge I learned watching NASCAR racing, using aluminum, rivets, and the most important part, some duct tape for improved aerodynamic efficiency. We intend to spend a few days in the wind tunnel perfecting it’s placement as race day draws closer:

As I was strategically attaching the tape to the car, The Wife decided to help us out with something we had all talked about doing - making some covers for the brake light holes. I think they turned out great:

In true Team Porcubimmer fashion, we’ve left some of the most important stuff for last - things like installing our 6-point G-Force Racing harness. I’m finally happy with how it fits in the car, but I’m not crazy enough to test that shit out… so I found some random child roaming the streets of San Diego, and gave her a Tecate and an Otter Pop to sit in the car and run it in to a wall a few times to make sure the harness was “safe.”

I think it works, the kid didn’t seem any crazier after the test than she did before. This weekend hopefully we can get the entire team together and wrap up some of the larger projects, like downing another 30 pack or two of Tecate. You haven’t already cast your vote for our Wet T-Shirt Contest have you? We’re not even close to being finished drinking beer while hacking on this piece.

-Vince

Team Porcubimmer celebrates Earth Day with spray paint pollution

Monday, April 21st, 2008

Sunday brought another round of activity for Team Porcubimmer as I Vince, my fiancee Steph, and myself gathered to do some more damage work on the car. The first order of business was getting our 6pt harness installed, which Vince set about with great gusto. He got the shoulder belts and one side of the lapbelt in, but decided further research was needed before drilling holes in the transmission tunnel or floor for the remaining belt mounting points. Nonetheless, it looks pretty good in there.

Meanwhile, Steph was hard at work cleaning and painting our wheels. Painting? Oh, why yes. Just in case you forgot what kind of car this was…

While that was being done I worked on installing a multi-outlet cigarette lighter so we can hook up our various cockpit accessories, like the two way radio which allows us to hear the drivers’ screams of terror and the camcorder which allows us to review the screams of terror and put them on YouTube. After struggling with finding a decent ground, Vince and I finally achieved success and I fastened the unit into place using the finest hardware known to man.

With that done we gave the car a rough sanding in preparation for painting. As sad as it was to see all the Sharpie graffiti go, it was nice to know we’re coming down the homestretch for getting the car ready to race.

Speaking of getting it ready to race, as harmonious as the sound of an unmuffled straight 6 is, we realized that probably wasn’t going to meet AMP’s dB limit so a precision engineered performance exhaust was fitted with the loving care that only a fake BMW certified technician can exhibit.

At least he was wearing a helmet. Finished product:

After taking a minute to patch up the holes left by the brakelights…

…we decided to call it a day. Next up will be finishing the installation of the harness, relocating the window net to the doorframe for seat clearance, and hopefully some painting and decorating. Stay tuned!

-AJ

Why don’t you have a seat over there?

Thursday, April 17th, 2008

No, this entry has nothing to do with Chris Hansen or Dateline NBC.

Our seat finally arrived and Scott and I wasted no time getting it test fit and installed in the car.  First we took exacting measurements to see how much we’d need to shim the mounting brackets, then scientifically selected the appropriate washers for the ta…  oh, who am I kidding.  We slapped a tape measure on it and started guessing about seat heights, since our mounting bracket gave us several options for height and rake.  We also delicately adjusted the slider handle for clearance issues (using a gigantic pair of pliers and brute force).  After taking a SWAG about where it should go, we gave it a test fit.

Once we got the rails and bracket tightened down, Scott, hauled himself in for a check on position.  It seemed his head was too far above the cage and too close to the bar above the driver’s door.  Before we pulled it out to attempt to adjust, I also took a seat to test seating for the shorter drivers on the team.  I reported that it could definitely go down a bit for those of non-Shrek like proportions as well.

After selecting a bracket position that gave the seat more recline and an offset to the right away from the rollcage, we “clearanced” the transmission tunnel (with a hammer, of course) and reinstalled the seat.

Scott and I both gave it another try and found the angles and dangles much more comfortable with more space all around with visibility still more than adequate for my short ass.  Which is fine, since the shortest drivers on the team are still taller than me.  Shut up.

Anyway, with our hard work done, we discovered our window net mount no longer worked as the shoulder support of the seat interfered with the latch bar.  I decided to express my frustration constructively:

Stay tuned as this weekend Vince and I attempt to affix a high performance exhaust system (read: glasspack), the harness for the seat, we begin sanding the body for painting, and I attempt to wire in accessory outlets and switches for various and sundry items without setting the car on fire.

Toodles.

-AJ

Despite all our rage….

Sunday, April 13th, 2008

….it’s just a PorcuBimmer with a cage!

First of all, my apologies for the crappy pics, since both AJ and I forgot our cameras, so I had to rely on my cell phone for a few photos. Anyway, AJ, Andy, and I got together on a sweaty Saturday (almost 90 degrees near the beach) to get the cage fully installed in the car and do some other things.

Autopower had partially assembled the rear portion of the cage, so part of the job was already done for us, but that didn’t mean it was a piece of cake. We still had to drill some holes, assemble the front half, add all of the mounting plates under the car, and finally tighten up all of the bolts. Installation of the mounting plates required some liberal use of a big ass hammer, but we got them done. After it was all together, we mounted the window net and the bar padding. Hey, it’s starting to look like a race car instead of just a junkyard escapee!

The only hang up we had was with the bolts that attach the front bar above the windshield to the side bars. Once tightened, the ends of the bolts were about the width of a hair away from the windshield glass. This was due to where we positioned the cage, which is farther forward than normal since we don’t have a dashboard in the way. After a bit of a struggle, we managed to wrap the roll cage padding around the bolts to isolate them from the windshield, but I’m just crossing my fingers that the windshield won’t crack from the inside during the race. Oh well, just another element of danger to deal with, right?

In the meantime, Andy hacked up prepared the hood for installation of hood pins. BMW was nice enough to provide the perfect holes in the radiator support to bolt in the pins, so all Andy had to do is cut holes in the hood for the pins to slide through and rivet the mounting plates on there. Just look at this German precision fit and finish:

When he was done, he cut off the rear fender lips to give more tire clearance in the unlikely (haha) event of racing contact with another car. This was a bit of a challenge since the rear quarter panels consist of two layers unlike the front fenders, so it took a lot more time to get it done. After going through several cutting discs, Andy finally emerged victorious.

After thoroughly dehydrating ourselves with too much Tecate and not enough water, we called it a day. Our racing seat should be delivered on Monday, so hopefully we’ll have the seat and harness in soon and we can actually drive the thing again!

-Scott

Autopower saves the day!

Friday, April 11th, 2008

As mentioned in the last entry, we had some problems getting the roll cage to fit correctly. Luckily, the manufacturer of the cage, is headquartered about a mile from where the car is stored.

I contacted them to let them know about the problem, and they asked that I bring the car to them so they can mock everything up and figure out what the problem is. I explained to them that our car is not currently drivable (no seats), nor is it street legal. To my surprise, they offered to tow the car in and fix the problem!

Sure enough, on Wednesday a tow truck picked up the car, and on Thursday I got a call from them telling me they custom made new tubes for us, and towed the car back home.

I work in the automotive parts industry and know mistakes are made, but it’s how they’re handled that says a lot about a company. While I don’t think they would do this for every single problem, went above and beyond to fix the problem in our case, and I commend them highly for it!

We’re going to get working on the car tomorrow, and with any luck we can now get the cage fully installed.

-Scott