Marathon hours of work and effort prove not to be enough to make it
to Las Vegas.
The past two weeks have been really hectic. Trying to get the bugs
sorted out from what we learned in Moroso has been frustrating to say the
least. Additionally, I have been attempting to complete my two final
After returning from Moroso, the number one item on the agenda was to
correct the 2-Step so that I could build sufficient boost to create the
horsepower needed to launch the car. I installed to MSD DIS2 ignition
boxes as recommended. After installing the two units and I began testing
those, the engine would rev to 7000 and that was it.
The reason was I had to provide the MSD a "Waste Spark" input signal
from the MicroTech instead of "Sequential" or "Coil per Cylinder" as I
had. Then once I was able to rev the engine above 7000, it was behaving
erratically on the 2-Step. With the assistance of MSD customer support, we
diagnosed the reason to be incompatible ignition coils.
I frantically tried to find coils locally so that I could get to the
track to test the car and complete my license passes on Friday evening. I
ordered 4 new coils from MSD to have them delivered on Saturday morning
then was able to track down and borrow coils, make a temporary
installation to make the track on Friday.
At the track, we prepared the car, tested the ignition 2-Step and had
20 psi of boost. Exactly what we needed to get the car to launch! At the
line, I did a burnout and felt the car was strong. I staged, let the
clutch go and the car lurched forward nice and straight, I shifted to 2nd
gear, it felt really good and then the car just lost power. It felt as
though a hose had come off and lost boost. Back in the pits, we pulled the
hood off and were in total shock. We had suffered a catastrophic turbo
failure like nothing I have ever seen before. The data log revealed that
over boosting was the cause of the failure. Even though the test session
ended prematurely, I was encouraged by what I felt and saw in the data.
Even though "I was in the gas" for just 1.8 seconds and short-shifted for
1st to 2nd, the car still ran 6.83 at 85 mph in the
1/8 with a lousy 1.32 60-foot.
Clearly, this turbo was subjected to conditions it was never designed to
This data also permitted us to make positive changes to the clutch
setting. Something else we are learning as we move forward. Now this left us
in a tough spot. With only 4 days to get it all back together, find a track
open so that we could test prior to Las Vegas was a tall order.
Thanks to Rotary Performance
, I was able to
bolt on a "truck" turbo that would at least make enough power to get me
down the track so that I could make two passes. The only time I could make
those passes was at a local track on Wednesday evening, the day before we
had to be in Las Vegas. With the car "ready" and knowing we would have a
new turbo to install in Las Vegas, we made the decision to be at the track
at 6pm when it opened, make the two passes, load up, drive straight
through and make the marathon trip over the next 23 hours to be in Las
Vegas by 6pm on Thursday.
It just wasn't meant to be. While setting the 2-Step and Boost in the
pits prior to getting into the staging lanes, the engine lost compression
on the rear rotor. Although it still started and ran, we decided to call
it off. We all agreed, we simply were not meant to make the event.
Additionally, the financial burden of not making this trip was a relief
although my wife Gail and friends had plane tickets and hotel
accommodations to travel to Vegas and watch us race. They made the trip
With the pressure off, we pulled the engine out and diagnosed the
problem. Simply said, just too much wear on our seals and springs. Yet
another lesson learned. With around 50 dyno pulls on the engine, the track
testing we had done and considering the over-boosting that had occurred,
it was time to freshen it up. I am amazed at just how much "engine life"
there was and that there was no internal damage at all. Thanks to my good
friend Jesus Padilla (Kilo Racing) for a great engine!
During this "down time" I spoke to Carlos Gonzales Sr. who is
synonymous for his turbo charged 2-Rotor experience and a past Modified
Champion. As he said, he has been doing this for many years and he has
been in my shoes. He knows what works, what does not and their reasons.
During the next phase of improvements I will make the recommended changes
to the car, I will heed his advice and hopefully it will make our ramp up
experience a lot shorter that it has been so far.
That said, the motor has been freshened up, its back in the car and
ready for testing. Our next event is April 30th in Englishtown
where I know we will have a great crowd, a fast track and a lot of great
racing. Stay tuned for more news and please be safe.