Category Archives: Things I Learned Today

7/10/17: Things I Learned Today

1. After my last track day, I thought I may have bent a couple valves due to a miss shift, so over the weekend, I did some diagnostics. First, I ran a compression test, and all four cylinders had similar and very good compression. The second test was a leak down test, so I borrowed a friends leak down test kit, and my results showed that all the cylinders are good. With the leak down results, I may not have bent valves, so I looked at the timing, and the intake cam has jumped a tooth on the timing belt. After a little research, a jumped tooth has symptoms that I’m experiencing, so this week, I will reset the timing belt and pulleys to see if my symptoms are fixed, and if so, I will replace the belt and put everything back together for the next track day.

2. It is difficult to go back to work after a few days off. I was very productive on my days off and enjoyed the weekend; however, reality kicked in this morning when I had to get ready for work. I much prefer on working around the house, but every paycheck generates savings which gets me closer to retirement.

7/09/2017: 4-Post Lift

After about 10 years of looking at 4-post lifts, I finally got one. I got the PRO8 with RJ-35 sliding jack combo. The ordering and shipping portion went better than expected. After a quick call to Greg Smith Equipment, I had the combo on order, and I selected the free shipping to a nearby freight depot that is 35 minutes away from my house. The lift was ordered on a Monday, and the lift arrived on Thursday and could have been picked up as early as Friday; however, I had vacation planned, so I delayed pickup until the following Wednesday which was no problem with the Old Dominion depot.

My Uncle came down with his truck and trailer on Wednesday morning to help with the lift pick up and initial install, and after a quick breakfast and a short drive, we were at the freight depot. It took a couple minutes to get checked in and sign for the lift; then, they forklifted the lift and jacks onto the trailer, and we headed home.

Once at my placed, we offloaded the lift pieces, by hand, with the assistance of rollers and jacks. While this was not ideal with two people, we managed without any injuries. With the pieces unloaded, I started to look at the instructions, and these instructions make IKEA instructions look good. The 4-post lift is not a complicated piece, but I did have a couple pieces in backwards, so it did require a little bit of re-work to get all the pieces installed correctly.

I finished all of the big items on day one – posts, ramps, cables, and I finished the details on day two to include the final adjustments. Now that I completed one lift, it would take much less time if I ever help with another lift.

I tested the lift by using the ailing (bent valves) Ricer, and as planned, I can have the Ricer on the lift, and I have room to park either the Cobra or Integra under the ramps. This will allow me to park all of my cars in the garage which I’m looking forward to.

Now that I got the 4-post lift in and working, I feel that I’m pretty much done with large purchases for the garage.

6/30/2017: Things I Learned Today

1. It is hard to believe that the year is already half over. This year has absolutely flown by, and I see no reason why it will slow down anytime soon.

2. The garage is prepped for the lift install on Wednesday. I did move stuff around to give the lift side of the garage a little more room in front of the lift, and I’m sure I’ll move stuff around again once the lift is installed.

3. I am going to Summit Point Main Circuit on Sunday for a TrackDaze event. This will be the second track day this year, and the first one on the Main Circuit in about 6 years, so I will be relearning the track. Since I need to relearn, I will be in the Blue group, and most likely will have an instructor for a session or two. I’ll finish the car prep on Saturday.

6/28/2017: Things I Learned Today

1. On Monday, I ordered a lift, from Greg Smith Equipment, on Monday, and so far, the transaction is going well. It is being shipped to a local freight depot by Old Dominion, and per their tracking system, it should arrive Thursday. I plan on picking it up on Wednesday, July 5th, and to assist in unloading and moving the pieces, I will be renting a small fork lift for the day.

2. I will be re-organizing the garage in prep for the lift install. Hopefully, the new layout will provide more room on the lift side of the garage.

6/25/2017: Things I Learned Today

1. I got photos of the telescope mount that I welded in use. Seeing something that I fixed in use gives me more satisfaction most things from the day job. I need to continue to learn how to weld items, get better at welding and do more of this type of thing.

2. I’m back on the west coast, and I will be flying home tomorrow. While I’m not a big fan of business travel, I do enjoy and use the various walking paths that are available in the area. The bay area does a nice job at provided paths for people to use, not only for pleasure, but commuting. I wish Northern Virginia was better at providing this type of access

3. The real bright spot of traveling to the San Jose area is a restaurant called Sumiya. This place has incredible and authentic Japanese food. I tried their green tea brulee, for desert, and it was fantastic.

4. I’m ready to order my four post lift, and if all goes well, I will order it while I’m at the San Jose airport waiting on my flight Monday morning.

6/07/2017: Things I Learned Today

1. One of my co-workers had a broken telescope mount that he needed welded, so he brought it in to see if I could help out. The piece is cast aluminum, and I have never welded cast aluminum before, so I told him I would give it a shot. I spent a little time watching YouTube videos on welding cast aluminum, and I basically learned that it can be a pain to weld, but cleanliness is key.

Once I got the broken half circle mount secured onto the welding table, I got a new grinding wheel and cleaned the area around the split and grooved out the crack slightly. I then used a new stainless wire brush and acetone to complete the cleaning of the broken piece. I also used a new scratch pad to clean the filler rod.

It took a couple tries to get the heat set correctly on the welder, but I did finally get a good setting to get the cleaning and melting at a happy place. What worked for me is that I did two passes over the crack area. The first pass laid down new filler material on each side of the crack; then, the second pass I could fill in the crack. I did small sections at a time, but I’m happy with the penetration; however, I wouldn’t win a prettiest weld competition.

He will try it out this weekend, but it will work just fine.

5/26/2017: Lift Purchase Recon

I’ve been eyeing up buying a lift for the second bay in my new garage for awhile now, and I’m getting close to making a decision and pulling the trigger on the purchase. I’ve been fighting between a 2-post and 4-post lift, and each have their pros and cons, so I asked other car club members on which one they would buy if they could only have one lift, and my conclusion is that a 4-post lift with sliding jacks are the way to go.

While this setup is the most expensive option, it provides the most versatility with the ability to be used as a storage\parking lift along with the option to be used as a working lift with the sliding jacks. My friends also have had good luck with the equipment from Greg Smith , so I will be looking to purchase from them, which includes free shipping to a shipping depot. I will take their free shipping option, and pick the equipment up at a depot which will save a lot of time and travel expenses (tolls and gas).

I need to figure out my schedule on when this purchase will best fit my calendar, so I can pick it up and assemble within a reasonable time frame. I will probably take a couple days off of work to get it done in a timely manner and limit my garage down time.

5/24/2017: Post Track Day Check

I had a little time yesterday to pull the wheels off of the Ricer and do a once over. I try to do a post track day inspection (I guess this goes back to my USAF Crew Chief days of doing post flight inspections) to make sure everything survived as expected, and it looks like the car did well with no issues.

I did pay attention to tire wear, and to my surprise, the inside portion of the front tire got the most wear. I was expecting to see more wear on the outside due to the pushing properties of front wheel drive. I may pull some camber out for the next track day to see if I can even out the contact patch.

The rear tires, which are pretty much along for the ride, looked pretty good on wear with the camber set to -2.2 degrees. I will leave the rear camber alone for now, and only tweak the front camber. I will post the camber readings pre and post adjustment when I get around to making the adjustment.

I am running Hawk Blue pads up front, and they did well with plenty of pad left for a couple more track days. The rotors also still look good, so they are good to go for now; however, I will buy an extra set of pads and front rotors to have handy for when they are needed.

I also reviewed my in car camera footage, and there were two items I noticed:

1. I could gain a few seconds on braking later before the turns. I’ll let myself slide a little on this one since this was my first outing in a couple years, but I bet I left 3-5 seconds on the track with the earlier braking.

2. I ran a lap time of 1:52 to 1:53 in the last session. This is pretty decent for the track, and I knocked about 6 seconds off from my first session.

5/23/2017: Things I Learned Today

1. The track day event I attended on Sunday was the most fun I had in the Ricer since I got the GSR engine installed. I’m looking forward to the next track day which will be a TrackDaze event on Summit Point Main Circuit. Summit Point Main is definitely geared towards the higher horse power cars due to the straights.

2. I got my torch setup completed, and it is working. The last piece was to get the correct size nipple\nut to connect the regulator to the bottle. I stopped by my local welding shop – Robert’s Oxygen, and they had the pieces for $9. I got a couple small items that I need to cut, so I will be able to provide updates once I’m done cutting.

3. I need to check over the Ricer to make sure everything survived the track day as expected and to think about any improvements that I can make.

5/22/2017: TrackDaze @ Shenadoah Circuit

It was a successful track day with the TrackDaze group at the Summit Point Shenandoah circuit. It was a well ran day, and the schedule was maintained through the day. It was helpful that there were no major issues on track, so each run group got their full track time. We had (4) 30 minutes sessions, so I got more tack time than any other event which I ran before.

Here is a two lap video:
5-21-17–Shenandoah Circuit