PART 23: PICKING UP THE PIECES AFTER LAST YEAR

Poor Rusty was sitting so lonely on his trailer under a cover that I decided to roll him off the trailer and tackle some of those items from my LONG to-do list from the end of last year. See bottom of previous page - Page 22: Rusty Racing There were so many I didnít know where to begin but some of the MUST-DO'S were calling my name. So after starting a grumpy and smokey Rusty he was rolled off the trailer and into the garage for some TLC.

Some Routine Brake Work and Final Items to Get Legal

First up the slotted brake rotors. Not legal for ITS so they had to go. Being cheap I sourced a set of 4 (front and rears) new plain (no slots or x drilling) rotors (Chinese no doubt) off eBay for $120 shipped. Deal. My old slotted fronts I sold for $50. The slotted rears were trashed due to sticking caliper sliders - one side looked new, the other was wafer thin. I rebuilt the rear calipers last year. While the front rotors were off I checked and repacked the front wheel bearings. I also removed the stock backing plates/dust shields that were still on the car. I will eventually run some dedicated brake ducts from the nose to the rotors but to much other stuff to do right now. I also checked and brake pads and installed some new - used Hawk Blue pads from my FD which still have about 1/2 thickness of pad material left. Should be good enough for the upcoming SCCA school.


Yup...thems new rotors all right!




Adjustable Brake Proportioning Valve

Ok now for the good stuff. As I found out very early on driving a stripped FC on the track, there is a tendency to lock up the rear brakes rather easily. Too much rear brake bias, bad. Some folks deal with this by playing with brake pad compounds but I didnít really fancy the idea. I prefered installation of an adjustable brake bias controller (proportioning valve) to reduce brake pressure to the rear brakes and thereby eliminating the rear brake bias. In other words Iíd rather lock up the fronts and go straight than lock up the rears and spin off into oblivion.

Two kinds of adjuster, dial and lever. I chose a Wilwood lever type adjuster (Part# 260-2400 - about $75) after hearing stories of the non-linearity of the dial type adjusters. I also decided to put the adjuster in the cockpit so I would have the option of changing bias when faced with a wet track vs a dry track. Whether or not I actually change the bias or not remains to be seen. The other option was to mount the adjuster in the engine bay with a mind to ďset it and forget it.Ē What fun is that?


Wilwood adjustable proportioning valve and custom made mounting bracket. Generic DOUBLE flaring tool.

So, the adjuster has to be placed within easy reach of a strapped in driver - pax side of the tranny tunnel would do. The single rear brake line runs along the drivers side frame rail under the car. In short, the single rear brake line is cut and new lines are run from the upstream side of the cut up and into the cockpit to the adjuster and then back to the downstream side of the cut...and on to the rear brakes. Simple. Oh and to do this you have to drop the transmission. Well since I had to replace the clutch anyways, no better time than the present. On with the show, exhaust presilencer removed, driveshaft removed, and transmission (starter too!) removed one has clear access to the underside of the transmission tunnel. I marked the spot for the adjuster and quickly fabricated a small bracket to keep the adjuster upright (aluminum bracket pictured above attached to the back of the adjsuter body). Drilled a couple of holes for the bracket and loosely bolted it in place. Next I drilled holes in the tunnel for the upstream and downstream brake lines. Be sure to leave enough room for a gentle bend of the brake line and make the holes large enough to accommodate a rubber grommet to protect the brake line.


Two mounting holes and two brake line holes. Mounting of the adjuster

For brake lines I used 3/16" tube size precut and double flared lines with fittings already on the line (Part# BL-340 from PepBoys). Carefully, one bend at a time and using a tube bender where possible, I bent each line to run from the stock line next to the frame rail hugging the tranny tunnel, so it wouldnít rub the tranny, through the tranny tunnel, to the adjuster and back. It is possible to bend the lines by hand but the risk of kinking the lines is high so I used the tubing bender as much as possible. Obviously one needs to make two lines. The loops in the lines serve two purposes, to shorten then line and inhibit line vibration.


My two form fitted brake lines and tubing bender. The two lines up in the tunnel and passing through the tunnel penetrations. Note I went between the parking brake cable and the chassis.


Two images of how the lines fall under the chassis and up to the frame rail. I removed the exhaust hanger just to get it out of the way when placing the lines. Note the rubber caps on the cut stock line.

Now came the hard part. Having two small rubber caps in hand, I cut the rear brake line under the car (using a mini tube cutter) and quickly stuck the rubber caps on them to stop all the brake fluid leaking out and emptying the master cylinder. I made sure the cuts I made were in a location NOT near the plastic fuel and brake line chassis hanger clips. The hard part was no going to be double flaring the stock lines, while still on the car, and which were still full of brake fluid! It is of UTMOST importance that the line ends be DOUBLE flared. A single flared tube end is a failure waiting to happen. After practicing several times on the length of brake line I had cut from under the car I took a crack at the brake lines on the car. Be sure to put the brass flares (3/16" flares, Part# 43469 - the stock line is actually a metric line but the 3/16" fit fine) on the line BEFORE you flare the ends, or else you will be cutting the line and doing it all over again. Both seemed to have worked out just fine although I will say that the stock brake line tube wall was much thicker than the aftermarket brake lines I bought.


A machine flared precut line (left), my own double flare on a factory brake line (right) - I think mine looks BETTER!

Now with brake fluid having run down your arms and into your armpits you can bolt up all the brake line connectors. Part number for the brass couplers connecting the flares was 43375. I used some small line clamps to hold the lines in place and to minimize vibration and chafing of the lines against the chassis.


Snug fit of the new brake lines to the chassis and tucked up under the fuel lines next to the chassis rail.

With everything bolted up and all the fittings snugged down I completely flushed and bled the system. Since the adjuster is pretty high in the system if you have a pressure bleeder Iíd suggest using it or you can be like me and spend an hour bleeding the brakes. The final test of course is to clean all the brake line couplers thoroughly get in the car and STAND on the brakes with every ounce of your might for a few seconds. Then jump out of the car frantically and peer under the car for the steady stream of brake fluid from the brass brake line coupler you installed that has just stripped. Ok, not really, but it is a tense moment. I think it goes without saying that the line connections should be checked regularly for any signs of leaks until you can be sure that the system is sound. A drop in brake fluid is also a sign of something amiss if itís a slow leak. Lets hope it works out well on the track.

SUMMARY OF PARTS NEEDED:
Wilwood adjustable brake proportioning valve (PN 260-2400 from Summit Racing) $75.00
Two 3/16" precut/preflared brake lines with fittings - don't recall the lengths, somehwere between 24" and 36" (PN BL-340 from PepBoys) $8.36
Two 3/16" brass flare fittings (PN 43469) and two 3/16" Brass flare couplers (PN 43375) $7.96
1 liter(? - the big bottle) Valvoline synthetic brake fluid $5.99



Since the Transmission is Out.......

......Might as well upgrade the clutch. After last falls racing school I felt the clutch was overheating and beginning to slip the longer I drove the car. That slight bit of slip after each shift was annoying and indicative of potential early failure if I continued to use it. Either that or Iím a club-footed when I shift and riding the clutch. I was a little ticked because the Exedy clutch I had in the car was brand new with only a few track days on it. The disc material simply was just not up to the task of racing. Lets get serious. After scouring the internet I found a used ACT pressure plate with a copper 6 puck unsprung clutch disc for $160. Jeez I hope this thing doesnít shatter my transmission the first time I shift it! There are some worries about copper puck clutch discs tearing up flywheels, well if it does so be it. The cost of racing, besides I have a spare flywheel. With the transmission out of the car swapping in the new clutch was easy. While I was in there I checked the throwout bearing and regreased the pilot bearing (new when I installed the Exedy clutch) while everything was apart and installed the new - used ACT clutch. Oh this is going to be fun. Fast forward a few weeks and after driving the car itís not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. Yes, when it grips it grips but I think given the racing environment this is going to be a good thing to have.


HARSH! 6 puck copper *UNSPRUNG* clutch disc and ACT pressure plate.



Now that the BIG Issues Have Been Addressed

First up my harnesses. Regulations limit harness age to 2 years or 5 years. Seems my essentially brand new Sparco harnesses I used for barely a year were out of date. Dang it! New harnesses were purchased, except this time I wasnít going to be so naive and I bought FIA certified harnesses which are valid for 5 years so I won't have to keep throwing away money. A nice set of G-Force 6 point harnesses which, dare I say it, I like better than the Sparcoís! Next I replaced a broken battery tray - a $20 (shipped) used tray with a new hold down to replace the rusty one I had. All the fluids were changed - engine, tranny, diff, and with new filters. I checked all the suspension bushings and all looked fine.


The new G-Force Harnesses. Yes you see a red X, do you really need a pic of my battery tray?



More stuff on the next page.

Keep going for more and a summary of the costs for these "improvements" and maintenance items and what I have left


Chapter I: To Begin the Hooptie to Hotrod Saga: Part 1 of the First 16 Installments
Chapter II: The Saga Continues beginning with Part 17 through 21, A Good Rear End: Part 17
Chapter III: Shift Mad Quick, Yo! Part 24
Chapter III: Getting a License - Racing School No. 2, Part 25
Chapter III: The S5 Decision, Part 26
Chapter III: S4 to S5 Conversion - CRAZYNESS! Part 27
Chapter III: Oil System Upgrades, Part 28
Chapter III: More Suspension Improvements? Part 29


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This page last updated March 8, 2006


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