22nd May2014

Rhonda Gets Low

by Michael Chandler

Supra Update Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (1 of 12)

When last we left off with Rhonda, our MA70 Supra project car, she had proven that a late 80’s GT car can be surprisingly practical. We also rifled off a list of issues that had arisen. Well sir, we got around to addressing some of those issues and found some others.

Supra Update Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (2 of 12)

If you recall the old girl was damn near doubling up on the boost, hitting 15psi instead of the factory set 8. It sounds cool, but hitting fuel cut in every gear except first isn’t. All the vacuum lines were intact so obviously it was something a bit more intensive than that to fix. There were a few options, including pulling the turbo off and looking at the wastegate; however, we’re on a budget with this so a plan was hatched to find a throw on a boost controller. The guys at Ziptie Dynowerks recommended the Hallman Pro RX Manual Boost Controller.

The big feature of the Pro RX is the ceramic ball it employs instead of the standard 316 stainless steel ball found in other manual boost controllers. The ceramic ball is lighter, which allows it to act quicker than its stainless steel counterpart. The lightweight ball allows for very fine control of how much boost you want to run. It came with a light and a heavy spring, the heavier spring allowing for more boost. Since we didn’t want to go that crazy just yet, we left in light spring in. After a few runs up and down the street (the dyno was occupied by someone who booked some time and was paying  to use it), the boost was set at 10psi and that was that. Next up was a trip to Innovative Garage to adjust the attitude by changing the altitude.

Supra Update Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (3 of 12)

Choosing the right  set of coilovers is somewhat tricky. There are hardcore, remote reservoir 1632 way adjustable sets out there that cost more than this car did. There are dirt cheap, a step above cutting your springs sets that are just barely that. Then there’s the boat we found ourselves in.  There’s not a lot out there for the MA70, and those that are out there are either a middle of the road as far as stiffness and adjustablity are concerned or crazy track series coilovers. Eventually we landed on the Megan Racing EZ Street coilovers.

Supra Update Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (4 of 12)

They’re a basic monotube design and are 15 way adjustable. The spring rates are 14kg/mm in the front and 8kg/mm in the rear. They’re also shiny and blue, which is a lot better than the beat up black the stock springs and struts are. Unfortunately they didn’t have provisions for the adjustment motors that were atop the stock bits. Yeah, she had adjustable suspension from the factory back in 1987. Oh well, it’s not like that’s gonna be the end of the world or the mere existence of said motors would make the install any more difficult than it should be.

Supra Update Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (8 of 12)

While Tyler was on the horn with Megan Racing, I inquired about a radiator. Megan makes one, and so it was tacked on to my order and went in with the coilovers. It’s a three row, all aluminum piece that came with a 1.1 BAR radiator cap. It also didn’t have some of the nasty crap that flowed out of the old one, so that’s a bonus.

Supra Update Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (10 of 12)

The front went together fine…ish. Aside from a gigantic bolt holding the upper control arms in, everything went smoothly. The rear on the other hand required some trimming of some interior trim just to get those stupid motors off the top of the struts. And even then we barely got them out!  And then there was the issue of mounting the bottoms of the struts. What should’ve been a straight forward, slide em and bolt em in affair became a date with the bench grinder.

Supra Update Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (11 of 12)

After a light show they were slim enough to squeeze in. And then came the alignment and ride height setting. The former is still an ongoing process (26 years of life on the road means that somethings that were once separate are now one) but the ride height was pretty bang on out of the box.

Supra Update Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (12 of 12)

Here’s how she sits currently, a much more welcomed stance than her previous set up. The Megan’s feel great, borderline stock feel. I haven’t had much time with them aside from blasts to and from Innovative because while we were pulling the wheels off the front we found a bubble in the sidewall of one of the tires. Pair that with the gash that extends from the outer tread block down into the sidewall and we’ve got a sketchy situation. So next up are some new shoes of the 17 inch variety, and rubber that doesn’t look like it’s going to blow out and kill me!

SOURCES:

Innovative Garage

Ziptie Dynowerks

Megan Racing

Hallman Boost Controllers

Words and photos by Michael Chandler

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.

 

31st Mar2014

NASA Utah Round 1: Time Trial

by Michael Chandler
NASA Utah Round 1 Thunder and Lightning group CAMautoMag Michael Chandler (105 of 105)

Smith-Burke Racing setting their second record of the day!

Paul McGarvey in his second run group and second Miata

Paul McGarvey in his second run group and second Miata

 

Many TT drivers had moved up to the road racing classes, and several had not completed their off season builds yet. Absent was everyone’s favorite Wyoming local, TT1 Champion Shawn Murphy, but he came down to visit and show his support and supply NASA Utah’s own Matt Guiver with a well deserved malty beverage. Smith-Burke racing ran fast laps in both the racing group and the time trial group.  Paul McGarvey joined the Vette with his V8 powered Miata, but Paul was one man splitting time between two different classes, while J.R. Smith and James Burke could split seat time.  Hard work paid off and the Vette managed to break Danny Popp’s four year old TT1 track record with a 1:58.09.

Greg Valdez

Greg Valdez

Scott Corsetti chasing down Josh Miller

Scott Corsetti chasing down Josh Miller

In TT2 Greg Valdez picked up right where he left off at Nationals last year.  His 2:04.356 was more than enough to take the win over Scott Corsetti’s 911 turbo. Greg repeated his victory on Sunday. Both TT2 drivers were good sports and spent a great deal of their day instructing new drivers in the HPDE program.

NASA Utah Round 1 TT CAMautoMag Michael Chandler (12 of 14)

Trip Hunter

NASA Utah Round 1 TT CAMautoMag Michael Chandler (11 of 14)

Corry Perkins

NASA Utah Round 1 TT CAMautoMag Michael Chandler (6 of 14)

John Carver

TT3 saw new and old Porches battle a Corvette and a WRX wagon.  Rookie time trial driver Trip Hunter took the class win in his Martini Liveried Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS, posting a 2:11.793, 2.8 seconds ahead of Corry Perkins’s 911.  Rounding out the podium was John Carver, who put his black and silver Corvette in third with a 2:15.329.  Josh Miller drove his WRX wagon to a fourth place finish (2:16.879), and James Pasquier posted a best time of 2:18.657 in his yellow 993 chassis 911, the oldest, but perhaps classiest, car in the field.

Kyle Schick

Kyle Schick

Reigning TTU Champion Kyle Schick was learning how the RaceCo/OS Giken/Ohlins Racing/VP Fuels/AMS GTR handled in rear wheel drive configuration.  2:04.185 was his best time during Saturday’s sessions.

Will we see Shawn Murphy next round?  Will Trent Smith get all four wheels of the GTR spinning together?  Can there possibly be more Porsches on track?  Find out all of this and more next month! The next race weekend is April 25-27 on the West track.  Registration is open and we look forward to seeing everyone return for Round 2 of the NASA Utah racing series

Words by Michael Chandler and Matt Guiver.  Photos by Michael Chandler

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.