Wednesday, January 22, 2020

January Maintenance

Down at NMS South, we're ramping up for the 2020 season with some maintenance. First up, the Lemons Miata was consuming more oil than we wanted in Atlanta last month. We rebuilt the top end of the motor last year, but the bottom end was still Mazda-original, 189,000 miles. It was due for some work.
One gross bottom end of the bad motor. The bad crankshaft was the terminal blow. 

We picked up a free motor from some friends that were also running a 1.6l Miata in Lemons. This one had cooked a head gasket but we had hoped to salvage the bottom end, rebuild it, and just swap out the old one in our car with the donor one freshly built. Once the donor motor was apart to begin the build we quickly realized it was a total dud. Sticking with our theme from earlier in 2019, we've got lots of failure to talk about here.
One of the rings that was too large sits on top of the cleaned up engine block. There's no way we'll be able to compress that down into the cylinder.

The next step was pulling the good motor and disassembly. We found a fair amount of tiny metal shavings in the transmission fluid and knew it might be on its last legs. Once the motor was apart, the bottom end had a few metal shavings in the oil pick-up tube. We decided to strip it all down and send it to the machine shop for a thorough cleaning.
With some extra time on our hands, we installed some air intakes in place of the old turn signals to get some more cooling air into the engine bay. 

The following weekend it was back, looked great, everything checked out, the crankshaft went in smoothly, but then the piston rings showed up in the right box, but the wrong size. We pressed on with our other tune-up items and ordered new piston rings.
Less paint is less weight, right?

Another set of piston rings showed up, but its another batch of right box, wrong rings. To add insult to injury, I parked the car outside while it was lightly raining and then put the car cover on. After a few days in the sun, it must have turned the little bit of water under the cover to steam and bubbled up most of our clear coat. Oh well. It's just Lemons.
The square metal bracket sandwiches between the cable running to the radio and the actual antenna

On the positive side of things, I finally was able to correct a mistake I made with the car last year. I had mis-measured the hole needed in the body for mounting our long-range radio antenna and drilled it out too big. Today I realized it could be fixed by making a small bracket to adapt the size of the hole and got the antenna installed. Hopefully that'll keep us in contact with the driver anywhere on the track at our next race.

Final product sits where the factory antenna was placed and covers up my over-sized hole. 

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