Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Monday, November 17, 2008


Since the Mound has been sitting in a trailer for a month, we decided to put a new fuel pump on it, whip out the JB Weld and try to get the car running again to have some fun. Just so happens there was a drift event and an autocross Sunday. We decided to take the car to the drift event and burn off the 13's on the stock wheels and do a little normal driving on the Azenis(or "grip" as those drifter say).

Plans to get a trailer turned into an early morning disaster so we drove the Mound to and from the event(45min each way) while sandwiched by the "support truck" and Pro-Tuning's 460hp MR2. Pictures forthcoming.

Post-Race Report

Well in a last ditch thrash the car was completed Friday afternoon. We loaded everything up and headed towards Houston. In Huntsville, about an hour and a half north of Houston, we realized the trailer keys had been lost... This topped the day off, as nothing seemed to be going smoothly. Arby's was out of roast when we stopped to eat dinner... I mean, come on! Recounting all the drama would take too long but we made it to the hotel around 4am and the locksmith came about a half hour later to save the day.

After an hour of sleep we were off to the track. Once unloaded we took the car over to tech inspection. The judges instantly labelled us as cheaters sicne we brought a RX-7 and sent us off to impound. They thought we were "too organized", with matching RX-7.COM t-shirts, an itemized cost report and "an answer for everything." After being docked 2 laps, 1 because they were sure we were cheating but couldn't prove it and 1 because wet paint on the door ruined one inspectors jeans.

After about 20mins of yellow, they finally dropped the green flag and our first driver made their way through traffic. After the attrition kicked in, I jumped in for my stint. I managed to loop it coming out of turn one and promptly pulled into the penalty box. The judges decided they'd be seeing more of us and sent us on our way w/o the standard 30min penalty.

Unfortunately about 15min into my stint the car began to sputter terribly, losing power for extended periods of time only to come back into full power briefly. I ended my stint and we changed the fuel filters and prayed. For the rest of the day the car would drive great for 2-5laps at the beginning of a stint, then begin acting up. Instead of pulling in and trying to figure out the problem, we decided to just get our drivers out on track and rack up laps... even at a terribly slow pace. A lower water pipe that had a hole we JB welded when building the car leaked, the clutch for the radiator fan stopped working and the top tank of the radiator cracked. All were fixed in stunningly ghetto ways except for the radiator, which we had a spare thanks to the guys at

Saturday night, the Rotor-Heads team lent us a fuel pump, I cleaned the carb's jets and needles and the fuel filters were changed once again. We were simply too beat to work on the car for long Saturday night and decided to get some sleep before attacking the car in the morning. Sunday we woke up and replaced fuel pump, the entire feed line, bypassed the roll-over valve incase it was clogged. The radiator that cracked Saturday was JB welded incase the spare bit the dust. We also rigged a fuel filter in the engine bay to act as a surge tank. The fuel pump from Saturday must have been clogged, which didn't present itself during testing or during low rpm driving, but on track, with sustained high rpm use... it couldn't keep the carb's bowls full. So the car would sputter and break up until the bowls filled... then give full power until they drained... rinse and repeat.

We got out on track about an hour late on Sunday and the car was a rocket. There were only a few cars that we couldn't outpace. Infact, we set the 8th fastest laptime of the entire event. The car was fast and fun! One of our drivers locked up the brakes and went off course sending us to the penalty box. Locking up the front brakes was quite easy despite the rear drums leaking... and not functioning. This made for a wild drive. For punishment, a sheetmetal chicken was welded to the roof. Around noon, the People's Curse destroyed a cow themed Miata... little did we know its destruction would visit us.

I jumped in for my Sunday stint and after 40-45min, I managed to lose it in Turn 1 AGAIN!! The car got wicked sideways, I got it back pointed straight... but straight at the gravel trap. So after my trip to the beach, I visited the penalty box... where they decided our car needed to be more Mazda. Being a hardcore Mazda guy myself I was a bit confused until they grabbed a twisted fender torn off the cow Miata earlier in the day. It was welded to the hood and we were sent on our way.

The rest of the day was pretty smooth. We had to change back to the original radiator due to a leak in the spare and we began throwing alternator belts. We had a little contact due to other aggressive drivers and one of our drivers brushed the tire wall chicane. All in all, the car and all of our drivers had great pace and if we had brought a spare fuel pump to swap Saturday we would have placed much better. In the end, we finished 44th of 76. Not stellar but it was 12 positions up from Saturday...

The car unloaded and finished just in time to roll it to tech & BS inspection

The Paddock... a place the car spent too much time

Notice the body mods: Simple reminders of our stupidity

The Team

Shakedown at MSR-Cresson

Testing at the Ranch. Only 2 of 6 drivers have been in the car!

The Initial Build Part 2

We scored an Autopower bolt-in cage from a guy down in Houston and one team mate offered up a Kirkey seat he previously used in his Spec Miata. Used Konig Rewinds were purchased along with new Falken Azenis. Pro-Tuing Performance of Fort Worth, TX help source most of the parts for the car.

By mid-September we'd been busting ass to make noticable progress on the car. Luckily the car was being stored at Zero Hour Motorsports in Arlington, TX and was a central location for the team to meet up for work sessions. I was able to drive the car down the road to Alamo Autosports to fabricate the exhaust, which was MUCH needed since there is a 92dB sound limit at the event.

With the car running and driving under its own power, we contacted rotary specialists Rotary Performance in Garland, TX in seek of their sage advice.

Initial inspection at RP of how poorly we got it running

They rebuilt the carb, I had previously attemped to fix, along with dozens of other fixes and got the car running like a champ. It idles! They strapped it down to their Dynojet and the car made 108whp with just a Racing Beat header, 2.5" resonator and emissions stripped carb. When we dropped it off, it was making less than 70whp.

We could not be doing this without the generous help and support of the following great shops and companies.

Zero Hour Motorsports- Honda/Acura Specialists

Alamo Autosports- Import Performance Specialists

Rotary Performance- Rotary Specialists/Gods

Pro-Tuning Performance- Import Performance Specialists

The Initial Build

We decided to build a car for the Houston edition of the 24hrs of LeMons. One of the guys had bought three SA and FB RX7s almost 7years ago for the grand sum of $700. The other two cars had long been sold and parted out but he still had one gem, lovely referred to as the "Brown Mound." This 1984 GS has been sitting in his driveway since purchased and was a favorite hangout spot for his cat. Only has 83K miles though!
Ready to leave Houston.

Here's the car once it was towed up to DFW and sleeping in my garage. Covered in pollen, slowly rusting in the Houston humidity.

We partially gutted the car while it was staying at my house. Removed all the junk in the rear, side glass and carb from the motor.

Once I had finished poorly rebuilding the carb, we ran the fuel lines out of a gas can, with the new pump inline. With just a little luck, she fired to life and rev'd to 7K easily. The car was open header at this time and quite deafening.