Wednesday, December 31, 2008

We're Number #101!!!!

Our brilliant strategy of visiting inlaws, celebrating a wife's birthday, leaving the country and driving people to the airport paid off!  Out of 114 entries we placed 101 and even finished ahead of 4 teams that made it to the race.  Sadly, after looking at the times and hours on the track, I think even if we had shown up we would've been lucky to place in the top 90.
Also, after reading this blog on cheating I realize that we could've pushed our cheating quite a bit more (and more creatively than the teams listed).

Friday, December 26, 2008

It's official - we haven't made it to the race!

It's about fun - pep talk

So, I spent last Sunday at my parents for a quick party/reunion.  And wound up talking way to much about cars.

First, I got my dad's side of my mom's pep talk story.  According to him, the first attempt at building a dune buggy failed.  They didn't finish in time and wound up racing their Landcruiser but we'll save that story for later.

So, I had a really good discussion with Dan who's garage I worked at very briefly in high school.  Basically, we concurred that the internet is brilliant and how could you work on a car without it.  This made me feel much better about taking something apart and then running to the computer to see if it looks right.

I talked with Doo Dah and his dad a bit about how off-road racing had become ridiculously expensive.  I wouldn't mind picking the LeMons brains on how to get a cheap off-road race together.   We also discussed 12a engines.  Although their experience was putting a turbo charged one in a dune buggy. 

Finally, I talked to one of my parents friends who was worried about my racing interest.  I explained to her that we were doing it for "fun" and that at our age you can't just invite friends over to your house to hang out in the garage.  You need something that's disguised as "work" inorder to have "fun" and that's what this race was about. 

So, we had "fun", lot's of it.  And we still would be having fun if it weren't for money,  a blown engine and Christmas running head long into us.  I have to say the damage of the holiday season was a bit more than I expected.  But it was fun and prepping for Reno will be even more fun.


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008

Practice Lap

Just in case there's a Christmas Miracle I had a little practice run.  We bombed down to San Diego and back this weekend for a family reunion (good, uplifting stories I will tell soon).  The return trip involved pouring rain and poor visability and gave me a feel for driving 4 hours in horrible weather conditions.  You can argue that a Subaru wagon is way more comfy than a LeMons car...but I had two screaming kids in the back so I'm guessing it's about the same.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Stick a fork in us - we're done?

As Surly Captain I had the sad duty of pulling the plug on the RX7 today.  Our endeavors to get a $500 car in running order are failing miserably.  

On Sunday we broke down and decided to fudge the rules and send the car to Dennis' mechanic friend for a diagnosis.  Turns out the engine was blown but there was a glimmer of hope when we found out he had an engine he'd be willing to part with but he wanted to check it out first (it had been sitting awhile).   Well today we learned, it had been sitting where water could get in the intake and was shot.

With Christmas sucking up every second of our time we're realizing that finding another car, roll cage, tires probably won't happen.

On the plus side the team has taken the news rather well and is already plotting our assault on Reno

Saddest Captain

Saturday, December 13, 2008


I'm missing my friend Karen Reitzel's (Dennis' butter half) annual White Willow party tonight.  I'm lame, and today was a bit too frustrating to drive forty minutes and risk the inevitable DUI or exhaustion collapse (update, I went to sleep at 10:30)

Here's a video of the car.  It started right up!  Happy moment!  Smoked like crazy! Sad moment! Moved! Happy moment!  Blew the oil filler cap off! sad moment!
more later

Friday, December 12, 2008

Pep Talk

I talked to my mom today.  She's really not one to give pep talks but in a round about way she did.  She told me a bit about the car my dad (and friends) built for the 1972 Mexican 1000.

They decided to build, from scratch, an off road race car.  It was a corvair (yes, corvair) powered four wheel drive dune buggy type thing.  The team consisted of a judge, an engineer, a constuction  worker and many others, all with mechanical abilities but none were real mechanics.  They layed the car out in chalk on the garage floor.  It took a bit longer than they thought to build and in the end they only had one afternoon to test it before the race.  They entered the race and wound through the desert finally breaking down in Mulege 700 kilometers from the start.

So, all we have to do is get a 1979 Rx7 running and we'll always be less than a 2 miles from a pit stop.  We can do it!


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Paint Job

This week in the Car

I haven't tried to start the engine.  It seems like it's there but it smokes* so much I'd just love to get it in the driveway before we start it again.  I felt a bit ill after Sunday's smoke fest.

So, I've been working on the brakes.  The front rotors and calipers are replaced.  The bearings were in good shape so I repacked them.  The rear wheel cylinders have been replaced.  The rear drums and pads look really good.  Now I'm just waiting for brake lines and it'll be done.

*smoke isn't a bad thing in this case.  On rotorary engines you can pour transmission fluid through the carb to loosen the apex seal and everything else.  BUT it smokes like crazy once you do and  needs about 20 minutes of running to burn it all off.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Smokey, Smokey, Smokey - it started

At this point I hate rotary engines and carberators but I do love this car.  AND with the help of a little transmission fluid and some coaxing it started!!!!
                              and spit out more smoke than I thought was possible.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Iron Butterfly - Me vs. Carburator

Dusty Springfield wasn't cutting it in this battle with the Beast!  I had to pull out  Iron Butterfly.  Light & Heavy; the best of Iron Butterfly to be precise.  Also, as a native of San Diego, I have to mention that The Iron Butterfly is from San Diego.
     Iron Butterfly was perfect for this "total carburator rebuild" chapter 3.  Since this is the third time, I know my way around and need something to rock me through it.  Iron Butterfly kept me moving  while adding glimmers of humor (amazing lyrics, jammin' organ solos and backup singers singing in the third person).  The keys is, you don't risk dropping anything while listening to the Iron Butterfly, it just doesn't rock that hard and isn't that funny.

the Shroud of Carburator
If there's anything that got me interested in mechanics, it was the little window on carburators.  
Well, the final diagnosis is - I'm glad I did it.  I found some lines that were totally gummed up and some things that should move freely that weren't moving at all.
lets hope it works

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


The Stubborn California Small Car Social Club needs your support!  Buy a shirt for $20 and support our attempt to have a running car in the 24 Hours of LeMons Arse-freeze-apalooza!  I haven't had a chance to figure out how to link this to Paypal ....yet.  For now just email me and I'll put your order through.
Sean Duffy
Surly Captain

The shirts feature the SCSCSC checkered flago logo on the front and the SCSCSC motto on the back.  They are available in standard unisex adult and child sizes. 
(Yes, we've corrected the dates on the back).
T-shirts are hand-crafted by expert child laborers in the T-shirt mines of Valencia within inches of the finest racing machine ever made.  You will treasure your shirt for ages....or until the next race.

Monday, December 1, 2008

argh -weekend update

this pretty much sums up how we spent the weekend.  At least now we know it's the carburator.