Whao, it's taken us a week plus a public holiday to recover from an epic September month.
The 26th of September saw Trak-lifes x Yez Racings hold their second Private Track day for 2016. John's 30th birthday also falling on that weekend meant a perfect excuse to go racing and have weekend away. The theme, three of everything of course; 3 weeks to get 3 thirty years old AE86s ready, 3 days in Goulburn traveling to Canberra and back for 3 different activities, Go-Karting on Saturday, Paintball on Sunday and Racing on Monday.
All 3 AE86s got home in one piece but weren't without its 30year old problems.
3 weeks to get 3 cars ready sounds like lots of time until an S15 and an 180SX needs work for the same track day and to throw in the mix, the 180SX you're working on also needs to have its gearbox torn down meant we really only had a seven days to work on the AE86s.
All the fluids from the Trueno got flushed and replaced. A set of spark plugs were installed and the 4AGEs timing was checked and adjusted. The throwout bearing, pilot bearing, and the rear main seal got replaced with new items along with a general check up on the clutch and flywheel for good measure. In the rear of the car the noisy LSD came out and had its backlash adjusted.
Phuoc worked around the clock to get the BEAMS AE86 running and moving under its own power, after the event the car will be torn down and lots of little things will be neatened up.
About 4 years ago the Levin Coupe was imported from Japan and put into storage. So when it arrived a week before track day it needed a major service, all fluids and consumables were replaced with Motul Fluids thanks to JDMYARD.
Ready for the Trueno.
New vs Old.
The TRD shifters solid bushing design is one of the reasons why the Trueno is so noisy. On the track, it provides a solid shifting feel, but at 5000rpm the gearbox sounds like a grenade in a washing machine about to go off! As cool as it is, the TRD shifter has to go, it will be replaced with something quieter unless we can come up with an idea to reduce the noise, John made a rubber bushing to replace the spring which helped, but the main problem is the metal to metal contact from shifters half moon and the metal bowl it sits in.
Not having one available to swap it out, we cleaned it up before reinstalling it back into the gearbox.
The Levin coupe was ready to go until Simon discovered a leaky front crank seal!!! A 4hour job to replace a $4 oil seal. Annoying at the very least and was a major set back, but better for it to have happened at the shop than for it to let go on the main straight a Wakefield. It literally fell out once we took the front pulley and front engine cover off.
The Beams AE86 getting ready for the first time to move under its own power!
1.30am and it's alive! The water temperature, however, is all out of wack with no water pressure in the water lines, we quickly trace it to a block thermostat. It's 2am before we bail and go home.
Make The plan for the Saturday was leave Greaser at 10am, arrive at 12pm to check into our hotel rooms, unload and drive another 1 hour to Canberra for Go-karting.
How it actually went down:
7AM @ Greaser.
-Bonnet,headlights,front bar to be installed.
-Engine needs coolant,
-Make custom battery clamp and battery box ( battery relocated to the rear).
-Passenger bucket seat to be installed.
-Engine needs tune.
-Driver side bucket seat to be installed.
-Fix spongy brake pedal.
-Bleed Clutch system,
8AM @ Greaser
-Coolant (water) done.
-Front end panels being assembled.
-Re-bleed brake system.
-Flush and bleed clutch system.
-Drivers side bucket seat installed.
9AM @ Greaser
-Front panels done.
-Battery clamp and box being made.
-Arrival of car trailer for the Levin coupe
10AM @ Greaser
-Minh and Du arrive with a car trailer for the Minh's 180SX. We load the 180SX onto the car trailer.
-Johnny from Trak-Life takes the BEAMS AE86 for a quick road tune
-Brake pedal still spongy, brake master gets bled on the car via a bleed nipple
-Loaded onto car trailer with spongy brake pedal
-We pack and load the workshop tools into the Trueno and the tow cars. Hand tools, power tools, car jacks, car stands, creeper and spare fluids are all packed! We bring everything!
-BEAMS AE86 is last to get loaded, its exhaust snags the trailer, breaks an exhaust hanger and mangles a V-band clamp.
-We repair the broken exhaust and load the BEAMS AE86
Arrive at Goulburn @ 2pm
Go-kart @ 4pm
Dinner @ 7pm
Drinks @ 10pm
-Everyone wakes up and we get ready for an hour drive for Paintball @ 10am
-The S15 overnight has lost all electrical power, so we spend the next 2 hours diagnosing the problem, turns out a loose connection in the ignition barrel was the culprit.
-Breakfast at 10am, Paintball postpone until 2pm
-Repco @ 11am for supplies
*buy more brake fluid
*buy more oil
*buy more coolant
*buy a workshop light
*buy hose clamps
-2pm @ paintball, its an all out epic war, everyone gets a beaten up and arrive back at the hotel bruised and sore.
-4pm @ hotel to start wrenching on the AE86s again.
Back at the hotel-
Knowing the Levin coupe was suffering from a serious case of a spongy brake pedal, we
re-check the brake lines for any trapped air and when that didn't fix it, we took the brake master cylinder out of the car for a bench (using the trailer) bled. After re-bleeding the brakes again for the 100th time, once the brake master cylinder was installed back into the car, and spending some time bedding in the new brakes pads, we finally got pedal pressure!!! High fives for everyone!
Also being wrenched was the BEAMS AE86. Its cooling system was completely gunked up and needed a major flush before any new coolant could go in, the battery clamp also needs to be finished and installed. The exhaust again broke during installation and not having access to a welder meant the car would have to go an exhaust shop- it didn't arrive at the track until 10am the next morning.
6pm- til late: Hang out with Trak-life, go for dinner and drinks.
To be frank, the Levin Coupe was SLOW. LOL, the on-going joke for the day was how many coffees the driver could make while going down the main straight, it was that slow, but it was also the epitome of "fun to drive". Everyone commented on how neutral it was on track, you put your foot down, steer and it would go where ever you wanted, even with the scary amounts of body roll, it had great rotation around a corner, plenty of traction and the brakes worked!
On the other spectrum of the scale- the BEAMS AE86 was an all out raw machine, the 200hp BEAMS motor has heaps of down low grunt. It has no problems holding its ground with much faster cars. Hearing it drive past the main straight sounded like a very angry 4AGE. Out of the three, the BEAMS AE86 had a heap of work required to get running and with a very short time frame, seeing it drive on track without any major breakdown was a major win for us. The suspension, ECU, and drivetrain will need to be adjusted to take advantage of the new power available. It's just the beginning for this car!
If the BEAMS AE86 was an all out raw machine and the Levin Coupe was factory stock, the Trueno was in the middle. With only basic bolt on mods, a fairly stock motor, 10year old junk tyres and unknown brake pads, it did well to hold its own on the track. Check out the video below.
This post would have been twice as long and taken us a month to write if we included all the challenges that three of us faced, it wasn't easy or fun and theres so much more of a back story, that neither any of us are wanting to relive those memories, yet, maybe after a couple of Long Islands and a bottle Sake each, LOL.
No one enjoys getting beaten up constantly, truth is, all you can do is just roll with the punches and know that things will turn out ok. Our experience and love for old crappy cars is what keeps us going. If it was easy everyone would be driving old crappy cars and it wouldn't be as cool. lol.. (yes we know its kind of stupid, but thats why we're all here)
And to finish off.
( John ) So I was standing there with Ben outside of Greaser and we got talking about the Trueno. I joked with him about how slow it was and what my plans were now to make it go faster after driving it at Wakefield, following it up with how it was also kind of stupid that I've decided to spend money on the Trueno instead of my perfectly capable DC2R, and Ben says to me, which I think nicely sums up why we do it in the first place ,
"cars guys don't generally buy a car because its fast, they buy the car they like then make it fast, otherwise we would all just be driving EVOs"