Bouncy Bouncy

I received the rod ends from McMaster Carr on Thursday and installed them on Friday night b/c my next autocross was Saturday down at Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen, MD. The mods worked. The understeer was gone and the brake vibrations were gone too. The emergency brake needed to be adjusted. I could pull it all the way up and it still wouldn’t hold the car. The event at Ripken went well. I ended up 3rd, just 0.5 seconds behind Eric & Dan in their well prepped CRX. I was speaking to Dan about his experience at the Solo National Championships and he told me that the car developed a front end or alignment problem that caused the car to jerk right under power and that they were still dealing with it. So realistically I was more than 0.5 back on them.

Jon Rush, an experienced driver, asked me if I’d like a ride-along to help find some speed out on course. His main input was that I wasn’t cornering at the maximum the car had and it seemed like I was driving the car like it had bitten me. It hadn’t but I still don’t know exactly what I can and can’t do in it and what it will do under different conditions. As mentioned I ended up 3rd out of 6 in class and 37th out of 127 in PAX. The new freedom of movement of the front suspension uncovered a new problem which was magnified on the sometimes bumpy Ripken lot. The front suspension was bottom out. It wasn’t the control arms or shocks that were bottoming. The shocks are shortened. But the tire was striking the fender if I hit a bump or transition mid corner. As it turns out my ride height was not even. The right front was a lot lower than the left front and the rest of the car for that matter.

The next day was an event at South Jersey. It’s great when you get to autocross both days of the weekend. the SJR event, the last of the season, was more of the same. The car handled pretty good, but was bottom a bit. And the lot was still very sandy meaning if you got off course you were sliding a ways. And the course was a bit of a sea of cones causing a lot of off courses, even for veterans. And the design of the course required you to slow down and take it tidy or you were instantly off course in sections. This did not lend itself to bonzi hamfisted “let me slide all over finding the limits of the car” driving. It rewarded neat and tidy driving. I took 1st out of 4 in class and 18th out of 76 in PAX. Gotta love South Jersey for those high finishing positions.

My plan was to adjust the ride height during the next two weeks. That didn’t happen. Besides the situation with my apartment parking lot being on a huge incline meaning I had to do it at work, it rained most of the two weeks prior to the next autocross at Warminster. So I ended up showing up a little early at the Warminster event and adjusting it right there in paddock. By the way. When measuring the ride height always use the center of wheel hub to fender measurement. When setting the ride height prior to getting the car aligned (I was a little rushed already) the guy doing my alignment said the ground to frame point was more accurate. And one of shops I had used previously used this method so I went with it. Well my car was very off so that isn’t a good way to go. Variations in the tires and twist in the frame can throw you off. And after I got the car aligned I did find out that some of the tires were only at 20 psi. And I never made the connection. The car is now 12.25 inches (a little higher in the rear, maybe .125) from center of the wheel to fender. I’d like to get a little lower but have to deal with the front wheel to fender contact and also the problem of the left rear spring adjuster almost rubbing on the axle shaft. That will be my project for over the winter.