Thursday, December 10, 2009

More Tires

Tires should be taken care of for the next race, and we miraculously seem to have done it pretty cheap. We've got three sets of really different tires.

On the 14" steelies that came with the Integra we have some Falken Azenis RT-615 which we got really cheaply at They were only $254 shipped, and if the $80 rebate ever shows up we will have gotten them for under $45 a tire.

Nick's old tires, some mostly used Toyo Proxes T1R's, are now on the daisy rims. They probably have a day of racing in them since they have a higher treadwear and we've heard they work well at LeMons.

The leftover Hankook Ventus RS-2 tires are on the Nick's old aftermarket miata rims. They'll serve as backups and for testing.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

To Do List for February

  • Rear Anti-Roll Bar - In our haste last time we left the stock rear ARB off. With the stiffer suspension we really, really need more of the weight transfer in the back so that the front has some bite on turn exit. As it was we would just spin the inside until the steering wheel was straight.
  • LSD - A limited slip would help with wheelspin and was available on some of the R-types. You can get a used LSD from Japan relatively cheap, but you need to tear the transmission apart to swap them out.
  • Caster - Our engine mounts allowed the motor to sit too low. Our quick fix was to space the front x-member down about an inch to help the pulley and transmission clear the radius rods. This screwed up the castor a bit and we think is the cause of the car's "spooky" handling. We can cut the mounts shorter and lift the motor and toss our spacer.
  • Brakes - The Hawk HP+ pads did ok, and I think we can run another race on those pads. I think all we need is some new front rotors and to swap the brake fluid with some ATE 200.
  • Seat - We at the bare minimum need to put in some back support to the cage. We slipped by tech last time by setting the seat all the way back. I think it would also be worth it to get a real race seat.
  • Steering Wheel - A quick release wheel would make getting in and out faster.
  • Shocks - Our stock 88 Civic shocks are no match for our much higher spring rate. I really wanted to do something magnetorheological, but Dick says we'd need 1000W per wheel to activate the fluid if we cant get the coils right next to the shock.
  • Tires - The two sets of tires are now toast. The Hankook Ventus that we were running are discontinued in our size. I went ahead and got Nicks old Toyo TR-1's mounted to one set. I think they have about a day of racing left in them. We'll probably get a set (maybe two?) or Azeni's to mount on the other wheels.
  • Better Fuel Cans - Filling the tank of the Civic is slow and painful. Seems like it took ~5 minutes per can.
  • Remove Weight - Strip out the door/hood/roof/trunk interior structure, cut big holes in the wing spar, and generally remove anything that isn't helping the car go faster.

Friday, October 16, 2009

3 Races in 2010!

Jay just released the new schedule. Carolina motorsports park is going to be hosting 3 races next year. The new dates are:
  • 6-7 February 2010: Southern Discomfort
  • 29-30 May 2010: LeMons South Spring
  • 25-26 September 2010: LeMons South Fall

Monday, September 21, 2009


William Conway: Our chief cook for the race. The food was awesome.

Atlanta Brewing Company: Having draft beer at the race was fantastic. I only wish I wasn't driving so I could drink more. Thanks!

Ed at He managed to get Leslie's shoes out to us in time after a shipping snafu from his supplier. Thanks Ed.

John at Atlanta Air Exchange: Thanks for helping us out with the wing. You can see it looks great!

Dick Anderson: Our source of suspension knowledge and the stiffer springs under the car.

Dave, Nick and Stephanie: For your help with the car and photography.

The Berkobins: Camera management, video downloading, and a whole bunch of valuable shade.

Everyone that showed up for the race: Organizers, workers, and participants. We had a great time!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

LeMons South Fall learning

So we did OK with the stuff we learned at the last race. What new stuff do we need to take forward to our next race?

Suspension matters.

Now that we have a car with some power, we need to get it to the ground on turn exits. We had a swaybar in front and an open diff. Not a good combination for a front wheel drive car and we would just spin the inside tire until the wheel was straight. This was a big suck on the sweeper. We need a big swaybar in the rear to help keep the inside front planted. The car was also very underdamped (at least on paper). New shocks that are stiff enough to match the springs should help. Me getting more educated on what a well set up car should feel like will also help.

Simplicate, then add lightness.

The fast teams had removed everything unnecessary to the function of the car. Hood, roof, and door stiffeners can go. Maybe putting a smaller battery back under the hood might also save not only the difference in battery weights, but also the weight of the battery cable.

Changing camera cards/batteries is a pain.

The GoPro Hero we borrowed from Mark's brother is a great little camera with its wide lens, but it doesn't have a provision for a power adapter and it's little batteries only last an hour or so. Couple that with a 2 Gig file limit and that means you need to swap stuff out at every pit stop (if it even makes it that long). I'd really like to find a simple inexpensive solution to this. Unfortunately most of the really cool systems are $$$.

We need better fuel cans.

The fuel cans we had took forever to get the gas into the tank. This lead to some really long pit stops if we needed to add gas. We should also get another fire extinguisher to use during fueling.

Did we learn anything?

After the April race I posted a list of things we learned. Let's see how we did acting on them:

Get to the track early.

We arrived at the track at about 2:30 AM on Friday morning. Most of the good spots were already taken. We ended up camped one spot down from the primo one we had last year. Setting up our stuff and only getting a few hours of sleep kinda bites. On the bright side, we did have plenty of time to get through tech and do the practice sessions. Next race I want to get there when the gates open on Thursday night.

Sleep is your friend.

Besides the limited sleep from the drive up, we did great on sleep this year. We worked hard in the weeks leading up to the race to have a running vehicle, but no crazy all night sessions. I think we'll do even better next spring since the car is in decent shape.

Stock brakes suck.

Amen. The Integra brakes and Hawk HP+ pads did great. We started to get some vibration under braking up front towards the end of the race, so there's some room for braking improvements. We were able to finish the race on a single set of pads, and there's probably a couple more races in them.

Being slow makes you slower.

The faster car helped us out quite a bit in this respect. I felt like we could go with the flow of traffic, and on some of my stints later in the day on Sunday I felt faster than average.

Visibility is your friend.

The faster car allowed me to spend more time looking forward than backward, so this didn't feel quite as critical as it was in the last race. Still, we were able to get all of the stuff out of the back and our rear wing was mounted high enough to not block the view.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Day 3: Success and Failure

With the density of cars on the track thinning due to attrition, the racing got a little more fun. Fewer cars meant more opportunities for clear track and getting some fast times.

Jeff garnered some battle damage during his stint when the vorpal rabbit sunk his teeth into the side of Our Lady in turn 1. Fortunately they only black flagged the rabbit and Jeff was able to finish his stint. The Civic, however, will carry the scars by which to remember the encounter.
Our only problem came when Craig noticed that the car made some scraping noises when turning and brought the car in. Turns out that the bolts that secured the mount to the engine on the other side were loose and one had fallen out. Another few minutes and we may have had a dramatic failure.

We also had a bit of fun with the Tunachuckers. It turned out that they could hear our radio communications going back and forth and particularly enjoyed the air traffic control lingo that we were using.

At the end we managed to keep the car on the track for most of the race and finished ~150 laps behind the leader. Not too shabby considering that we had a couple of long unplanned pit stops and that our pit strategy was optimized for driver entertainment and not focused on the win.
Our disappointment came at the awards. We felt like we had the Dangerous Homemade Technology award in the bag. The wing seemed to be a big hit with the crowd and it was pretty cool to watch on the track as it lowered on the straights. We even thought we might have had a shot at organizers choice since we had gone the extra mile with the costumes. In the end we missed out on both. Jay gave us a mention during the awards ceremony but ultimately gave the Dangerous Homemade Technology award to a team that had built electric brake coolers (presumably thermoelectric and not just fans). I can only guess that Jay had already seen enough active aero to want to give the Dangerous Homemade Technology to something a bit more unique.

Day 2: Racin'

Mark took our first stint and everything was pretty uneventful. He actually turned in a few fast laps near the end of the stint despite all of the traffic.

My stint was next and didn't go so smoothly. A couple laps in I was confronted by this:

The driver was fine, and was insisting that someone had hit him. I can understand why.

A little later I earned our first (and luckily only) black flag. I went hot into the inside of turn 1 and couldn't make the turn in the space allotted. I ended up gouging a rather large hole into the door of the LabRat's #63 Colt. Fortunately the cars weren't disabled in any way that a large hammer couldn't fix.

Jeff and Craig's shifts went pretty smoothly.

My second shift involved some extra stops. The car lost power on one of the turns and I realized that I was running out of gas. Then just a few minutes later Craig called me in because I was trailing a cloud of smoke. I assumed we had blown a gasket and sullenly took her to the pits.

I pulled her in to our pit and saw the trail of oil that followed her all the way from the track. The passenger side of the engine compartment was coated with oil. The culprit? One of the engine mount bolts had come loose and allowed the engine to shift enough to rub the transmission on our relocated oil filter.

We were very lucky that the damage wasn't worse. We got her fixed up and back on the track in under an hour.

Day 1: Arrival and Tech

We left the office in Atlanta at about 7pm on Thursday. After a dinner stop at a Waffle House along the way and a 2 hour shopping trip at Walmart in Camden, we rolled into CMP (Carolina Motorsports Park) at about 2:30am. We spent much of the trip up talking about our shtick at BS judging. We had a lot of great ideas.

Our favorite spot had been taken, so we set up camp next door. We blearily set up tents and tried to get a few hours sleep.

On Friday morning we tech'd the car first thing. We were worried about the lack of seat bracing in the cage, so we wanted to tech early so we could fix problems if necessary. The seat proved not to be a problem, though I think we need some better support for next time. What they did ding us for was minor and could be quickly fixed: clear tape over the windshield cracks, foil tape over some of the holes in the trunk floor, and a bigger lightning bolt indicating the location of the emergency kill switch.

We had signed up for practice laps. We got 5 20min stints that were spaced about an hour apart. Each of us took a stint to try out the car. She was definately a different beast than last time. The extra power of the Integra motor kept it from feeling like a chore to push her around the track. In between stints we took care of the tech issues and Jeff put the decals on the car. By the time 4pm rolled around we were ready for BS.

Our skit was pretty eleborate. We were pretending to be crop dusters who had just set down to fill up on fuel. Craig and I asked suspicious questions like "Exactly what kind of judging is going on here?". Once we had established that they weren't "govmnt" judges we signalled to Mark who ran up clutching our contraband: foam blocks covered in parsley flakes designed to look like bricks of pot.

We didn't even get to the part where we explained that Big Ag was in cahoots with the government to put pot in all our food. The judges were amused enough to send us on with 0 laps without even opening the hood.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

It's so beautiful

A shot of the semi-complete paint job. The decals will go on at the track.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Jeff's done some cool graphics for the car and shirts.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Paint Scheme

After considering zombies, Shinto monks, drunk airline pilots and Hare Krishnas as possible themes we've finally settled on Otto's Crop Dusting. Jeff has put together a paint scheme reminiscent of an old biplane.

Our new number is 172 in honor of our wing's donor. I think we've since come to the conclusion that it may actually be a 152 wing since it only had a 13 gallon wing tank.

Our leather caps, goggles and flight suits have come in. Mark's even gotten a surplus parachute. Jeff has also designed us some pretty awesome t-shirts. I'll post pics on Tuesday.

More Cowbell!

Craig noticed that he got a little light headed while driving. The lack of trunk and the wash from the wing was pulling the exhaust into the cabin.

We decided that our life expectancy might be improved if we put the trunk lid back on to keep our exhaust where it belongs. The fact that it also serves as mounting point for another wing sealed the deal.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Legal to Drive

I got the emissions done and renewed the tag. Since we've fixed the lights Our Lady is now legal to drive on the road. Perhaps not safe, but legal. I drove her to work.

Driving the car, the first thing you notice is the power. This is a whole different animal from the old Civic. The second thing you notice is the steering. It feels like an old jeep. The steering has a dead zone of about 3" where the steering wheel does nothing. The third thing you notice is the scary sounding clunk from the right front when you hit a bump.

So after I got home from work Craig and I took a look at the alignment using string and some jackstands. We expected it to be off since we swapped the Integra knuckles into it. It was. When we started making the adjustments to correct the toe, we noticed that we weren't getting much closer to our goal, every adjustment seemed to keep the tires our one way or the other. Then we found our culprit. The tie rod end was shot and had ~.060" play. Fortunately we still have the Integra steering rack and the tie rod end looks similar. We'll be swapping that in tonight.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

It's a jungle in there.

We've made a few mistakes with the wiring. I guess we'll just have to know better for next time.

Our goal was to use the entire harness out of the integra to simplify any engine-ecu confusion. That part of the plan worked pretty well.

Our first mistake was starting to strip unused wiring out of the harness before we knew for sure we didn't need it. We reduced the rear harness to just the brake lights, fuel pump and fuel gauge sending unit. That was fine until we realized that the only thing keeping us from driving it on the street was the lack of turn signals and headlights.

Our second mistake was putting the fuse box in the center of the dash. This one was more of a lesser of two evils choice. The stock position, underneath the steering wheel, would have been a nightmare to work on. The upside is that all of the harness lengths would be right.

The third thing we learned is that grounds are important. There a probably a dozen different grounds on the harness, and any one of then can (and did!) keep the car from running.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Fuel tank removal

One of the challenges we faced was mounting the wing. There are two spars running the length of the wing that carry the load to the fusilage. They are the logical place to attach, but drilling through them presented a problem: the fuel tank. Fortunately the tank is not too difficult to remove in spite of the many seized screws.

I even made some art in the process of their removal.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

It works! It really works!

The wing is mounted and we all took the car out for a spin around the block.

We mounted the wing so that it would pivot around the front. In the back it is supported by a gas spring like those used on a rear hatch to help lift. We used a gas spring because they have an interesting property: once their initial force is overcome, the force does not increase. Thus the gas spring almost acts like a resettable fuse, limiting the amount of downforce.

Why would we want to limit downforce? To reduce drag. Both forces, downforce and drag, increase with the square of speed. It's worthwhile to have downforce and drag at slow speeds, when we're in a turn. When we're in a straight we don't need downforce, and by letting the wing change it's angle we can limit the drag.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sweet Ride

I drove the car around the block a couple of times this morning. No doubt waking up the neighbors with the lack of muffler.

The car is fast. The steering felt a little uncertain, but the engine revved smoothly, the transmission shifted and the brakes worked. It's going to be a great car to drive on the track.

The wiring is still a little flaky. The car didn't turn on at the first turn of the switch. We also need to check the alignment since most of the suspension parts came out of the Integra.

Now we need to get the wing mounted and decide on a theme.

Sunday, August 23, 2009


We started the engine tonight. It took a litle finagling to get the starter to work. We had to bypass our start switch and just jumper the starter to the positive lead coming off the battery to get it to turn over. I think we have something wired up wrong as the brake lights are on except when the pedal is pressed.

We also had the distributor wires plugged in wrong. We didn't have a service manual to tell us the correct order when we put the distributor on. Fortunately Jeff remembered that they were just random and we got them plugged in correctly.

The engine seems to run well. There's no exhaust and the car is still on blocks so we didn't drive it, but tranny and clutch seem to be working!

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Dick of Carrera shocks was able to hook us up with some better springs on Tuesday.

One way of understanding suspension is through the natural frequency. Natural frequency us the rate the car will bounce once disturbed and can be calculated as the square root of the ratio of spring rate to mass. Production cars generally have a natural frequency of about 1 Hz. This is driven more by comfort than performance as 1 Hz is similar to a walking pace. Non-aero racecars have have a natural frequency closer to 2 Hz. If mass is held constant the spring rate would need to increase by a factor of 4 to double the natural frequency.

Dick has a huge collection of old racing springs. We were able to put together a motley collection that would get us significantly closer to that fabled 2 Hz

Liquid clutch

One of the problems with getting the engine from a '95 is that they come with hydraulic clutches. The usual fix is to buy a doohicky that attaches to the end of the clutch cable and converts the pull into hydraulic pressure. Unfortunately those doohickies cost money. Money that we don't have.

What we do have is the clutch pedal assembly that came out of the Integra. Unfortunately we can't just bolt the whole thing to the firewall because the clutch master would end up poking into the wheel well. What we needed to do was reverse the direction of the master cylinder so that it pointed back into the cabin.

Some pounding, cutting and welding later we have a working clutch pedal. Now we just need to plumb some hydraulic lines.

A little bit scary

Craig and I put the wing on top of the car to see how it looked. The answer is "intimidating". I can't wait to have this thing out on the track.

As a bonus we saw that this 172 had electric flaps and the motor is still in the wing! Now we just need to rig the car with an extra battery to get 24 volts and we can have push button flaps.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wings over the Civic

With no intrepid souls wanting to follow me into the chasm of madness that is suction downforce, I needed to find a kinder, gentler path to the banned technology award. Preferably one that didn't involve an extra motor and a 100lb fan. The solution? A giant wing.

A fully loaded Cessna 172 weighs about the same as a Civic and travels at similar speeds depending on which way the wind is blowing. A chunk of Cessna wing should be able to produce some serious downforce if turned upside-down on the roof of the car. Thanks NASA, for making FoilSim available. I used the camber and cord thickness from the Cessna wing (it's a NACA 2412 profile) and plugged them in. At 65 mph and 15 degrees, the angle of maximum downforce, we get over 1000 lb!

A trip to the local aircraft salvage produced a 6ft chunk of 172 wing with just a few dings. It even came with a flap.

A special thanks is in order to John and Blake at Atlanta Air Exchange for helping us out with our insanity.

Shift Linkage

We can shift now. Mark's finished modifying the shift linkage using parts from the '95 Integra as well as some parts from a '93. He also doubled the mass with weld.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Time is running out.

Less than a month to go. We've still got a lot to do, but there's light at the end of the tunnel. The current task list:
  • Get the Integra wiring harness installed and test the engine.
  • Bleed and test the brakes.
  • Build a battery box in the back of the car.
  • Build a bracket for the hydraulic clutch master cylinder.
  • Plumb the hydraulic clutch.
  • Find some stiffer springs.
  • Finish cutting out the extra weight in the car.
  • Get a better seat.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Motor is IN

After the motor mounts didn't line up the second time we gave up on them. We decided that the rear mount would remain unmolested, but that the driver and passenger side mounts would have to be cut and rewelded. So cut them we did.

We put the motor back in with just the rear mount holding it and used jacks to support and level the motor. Once we were satisfied with it's position the mounts were cut, ground and tacked in place. We also took the opportunity to check to see if the '95 half shafts were going to work (they did) and to see if we'd have clearance for the suspension (we didn't). So the mounts were welded up and we were able to get the motor sitting in the car without something else holding it up.

There's one tweak remaining. The front crossmember needs to drop about .5" to clear the exhaust and give us some more clearance between the engine and the radius rods.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Stupid $@*# Motor Mounts

Having gotten the appropriate mount for the hydraulic clutch transmission, we giddily hoisted the motor up expecting it to drop sweetly into place.

It didn't.

Pretty much everything was wrong. The driver side mount was 15 degrees off and the rear motor mount "T" bracket was trying to punch through the firewall. A little more research and a question on Honda-Tech confirmed that we had no idea what we were doing.

The motor had come from a '95 Integra. Even though it's the same motor as the '93, the mount brackets are different. The driver's side bracket and the rear "T" bracket needed to be replaced with '93 versions to use the mount kit that we had.

We tried to get the bracket and some other things at the Pull-A-Part, but most of the engines had already been pulled. We found one '91 with the motor intact, but it was a automatic and the T bracket wasn't the same. It did provide us with the driver's side bracket that we needed.

Couldn't find the T bracket at M&R, the salvage place near my house, so I ended up driving to Honda Parts Connection. It was like the elephant graveyard for Hondas. They hooked me up with the bracket and the guys there had some great advice on some of the other questions we had (thanks Chris).

So with our new array of brackets installed we hoisted the motor again. We were a bit more somber this time. Even with our lowered expectations we were still disappointed. We were able to get the transmission side and driver side mounts in with some effort, but the rear mount was at least 1/2" off. In addition, the motor was crooked in two different planes. The transmission mount needs to move back 3/4" and the drivers side mount needs to move up 1-1/8" relative to the motor. Time to get the welder out.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Motors are out.

Mark and I have finally gotten the motors out of both the Civic and the Integra. A couple of things became clear to us that probably should have been before:
  • The Integra transmission has a hydraulic clutch.

  • The hydraulic clutch transmissions use a different motor mount on the passenger side.

  • The driver's side mount doesn't look like it will bolt to the motor bracket.

  • One of the motor bracket bolts is stripped and will need to be helicoiled.

In other words, 2 of the 3 motor mounts that we have won't work. We're going to need some time to fix some things before we drop the engine in.

Team Consolidation

The Turbo Schnitzel Team had a bit of a crisis. They had whittled their way down to a three man team to optimize their chances at winning the race. That decision left them sensitive to any perturbation of their plans. And perturbed they were when Dave announced that he wasn't going to make it to the race because he'd be training that weekend. Wanting to keep the triumvirate intact, Craig and Jeff were considering hanging up their liederhosen.

The OLPD team itself was short a couple of members as Travis and Nick weren't going to be able to race due to school/money concerns, so we've adopted the remaining schnitzels into the OLPD fold. In addition, we've also added Jason, a coworker of Leslie's and fast car aficionado.

So the 2009 Fall OLPD linup is:

Brian VanHiel
Leslie VanHiel
Mark Berkobin
Jason Tidwell
Craig Cochran
Jeff Juskowich

We're in again!

Evidently the LeMons South race is becoming more popular. There were over 130 entrants. I'm not sure how many made it in, but we were one of them. Unfortunately I didn't realize that once we were in you were free to pick your car number until a week later, so for this year we'll be car 999.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Steering Knuckle Comparison

Bigger = better when it comes to brakes. The rotors and calipers are larger on the Integra, so putting the knuckles on the Civic seems like an easy brake upgrade. We took the steering knuckles from the Civic and the DC Integra off and put them side-by-side.
Unfortunately it was obvious that there was little chance that the Integra knuckle would work as it was. The top ball joint was almost 1.5 inches inboard of the Civic ball joint location. That translates into LOTS of positive camber. We went to the wrecker yard and got a DA (90-93) Integra knuckle in the hopes that it would be a closer match. It was, but not as good as we hoped. The uprights also get taller as you go from EF>DA>DC. The DA is about .25" taller than the EF, and the DC is about .125" taller than the DA. Taller means that the camber curve gets more agressive.
Here's the camber comparison if we bolted the knuckle onto the Civic at stock ride height:
EF Civic knuckle (88 Civic DX)= 0°
DA Integra knuckle (91 Integra LS)= ~0°
DC Integra knuckle (95 Integra LS)= +5.2°
These measurements are approximate, as I based them on the distance from the top of the lower ball joint to the upper ball joint hole. Ideally the measurments would be from the center of each ball joint, but I think the error is less than .25 degree.
It's not all bad. Lowering the car will create some negative camber. Ideally we'd have -2° to -3° (I think). I've read about people taking a torch and bending the upright to correct camber. It's a pretty cheesy solution, but that's what makes it LeMons worthy. I'm going to do a bit more research on it.
I'm going to double check my measurements and then put the DA Integra knuckles on the car for the time being. (edit - doublechecked the DA knuckles and they're closer than I measured earlier. I'll post better numbers later)

Friday, June 5, 2009

Chop Chop

Problem: The Integra is hard to move around without a rear suspension and wheels.

Solution: Chop the car into managable bits.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Rear End Swap

There's two reasons we want the Integra rear suspension. The first is that we'll be able to replace the crappy civic drum brakes with the newer Integra disk brakes. The second is that we'll be able to use the stiffer/newer Integra spring and damper.
I was a little afraid that the '95 Integra parts wouldn't fit. The 90-93 (DA) Integra's rear trailing arms were the ones that were typically swapped into the 88-91 (EF) Civics. The later 94-01 (DC) Integra might be different.
We went ahead and pulled the rear passenger side suspension off both the Integra and the Civic. The trailing arm looked very similar, but the compensator arms were dramatically different. I did some measurements using Photomodeler and it confirmed that the arms were very close. Photomodeler lets you take several photographs of an object and can trangulate the XYZ coordinates of selected points. It works great for situations where you can't easily measure between two points because they are on aribtrary planes. The measurements arn't terribly accurate, but they were better than I could do with a tape measure. The upper and lower control arms are close, but the Integra arms seem slightly longer. I kept the Civic upper arm, since it should give us slightly more camber.

Plan 2.0

Sick of driving a slow automatic car with crappy brakes we decided to do some upgrades. Integras are essentially souped up Civics, so we started looking for an Integra from which we could swap parts. From poking around on Honda sites, it looked like the Integra parts would bolt up pretty easily. This site had some of the better info on getting better brakes in an older Civic.
Fortunately we came across a '95 for only $600. The car wasn't much more than a bent shell. The previous owner had been T-boned, trashing the body. He had already stripped and sold everything that wasn't making the car go. What was left, however, was exactly what we needed: and engine, manual transmission, and the brakes.
So now I have two trashed cars in my driveway. My neighbors must be so happy.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Getting ready for September

The next race is September 12-13th. We learned some things from last year:

Get to the track early.

We didn't make it to the track until almost noon. By the time we got through inspection, we missed most of the test time on the track which had cost us $200.

Sleep is your friend.

Working past midnight for weeks and then driving 300 miles after a night of no sleep is an accident in the making.

Stock brakes suck.

This is the big one. We had to swap out pads twice during the race. Each time cost us more than an hour of track time and made the time we did have on the track a bit scary.

Being slow makes you slower.

Without the fan, our car was just a stock Civic. That means we were constantly getting passed and forced into bad lines. Getting a bad line in a car with 0 acceleration means your going to be slow down the straight and get pushed into a bad line on the next corner. Rinse. Repeat.

Visibility is your friend.

Our rear visibility sucked because of all of the gusseting that we put in for the fan. Our blind spot was pretty much anything behind the front door. This lead to a large number of black flags...

Sunday, April 5, 2009


We did it! The Dangerous Banned Technology Award is ours! Even better news is that the Turbo Schnitzel team has won the Peoples Choice Award!

TS started loosing gears and finally ended up with only 5th. After frying their clutch trying to get it around the track they pulled the tranny. Fortunately the transmission angel floated by and showed them how they could fix it with a 5 cent roll pin. Unfortunately they had toasted their rare Merkur clutch and their only spare (which itself was toasted, but less so) was in Atlanta. A few hours of driving to meet the guy they had roped into being the parts courier and an all nighter later they had a car that ran. In third. With no clutch. They still managed to get through another 2 hours of racing.

Meanwhile we suffered from our lack of foresight. We went through our brake pads at a staggering rate. One set only made it 'til afternoon on Saturday, and the set we bought to replace them only lasted a couple of hours on Sunday. Each time cost us about 2 hours to drive and pick up parts. Not to mention that we almost killed Nick because we didn't tighten the lugnuts after lowering the car. He found out mid turn when the only tight one snapped and the wheel went all wobbly. Fortunately the other 3 held, so we tightened them down and sent him back out. In the end we lost to TS by 3 laps.

Friday, April 3, 2009

It works!

We ran the system this afternoon and it pulled 3 inH2O under the skirt. That equates to about 420lb of downforce! That's not even counting the additional 500 lbs of equipment that we've got bolted to the car to create it. I think we could have gotten a lot more if we didn't have such a restrictive connection to the skirt.

But... they're not going to let us race with it. We never properly solved our fuel problem with the CB750 motor, and the track manager didn't like that we could rub our skirt with the wheels at full steering lock. Neither problem was insurmountable, but given the amount of time we'd take to get them fixed, and our complete lack of experience actually driving the car, we ended up stripping out the system for the race. This had been our backup plan the whole time, but it still hurt to use it. It's like pulling the eject lever and watching your plane nose dive into the ground. You can't help but think you could have saved it.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Buttoning Up

The final pieces are finally sliding into place, but it looks like we will be arriving in Kershaw without having tested the ducting and skirt. It's 4:50AM. They guys are getting their stuff together and then we'll put the car on the trailer to go. I doubt we'll be in Kershaw until noon.
One of the unsolved problems, or rather problem we thought we had solved but hadn't, is the connection of the duct to the skirt. I had orignally imagined that the duct would connect to the floor behind the passenger seat and then a bellows would connect the skirt to the bottom of the car. The problem we discovered is that the bellows would be mere inches from the exhaust and catalytic converter running down the centerline of the car. Most of the materials we imagined for the bellows would ignite. We would not have been happy.
So instead we are using some HVAC ducting. The size is only 12" diameter, which doesn't give us that much space to pump air through. If the flow is too choked it may kill our downforce. I guess we'll find out soon enough.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


The first thing we did tonight is trim the manifold with our chosen skirting material: plastic garden edging. Then we hung it from the car and took it for a drive. mark took some video, so I'll post it after I get it from him. We left the skirting long, so it dragged the whole time as we slowly drove around the block. Did a little bit of weaving along the road and saw a few sparks as the car swung and the manifold hit. We're going to make some shorter shackles tomorrow to lift the skirt another 1/2" or so off the pavement.

All we have left is the completion of the ducting. We're about halfway there, but we had wanted to be in Kershaw early Friday for the track day. Tomorrow is going to be a long day.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


The 18 tooth CB750 sprocket arrived today. It replaces a wobbly hack job that someone created from the hub of one sprocket welded onto another smaller sprocket at a 5 degree angle. More importantly, it means we can start the fan up under motor power, and start it we did. It's hard to describe the feeling of "this is a really bad idea" that washes over you as you see the fan start to spin.


Only 4 days until the race. There is still much to do. On the plus side, much has gotten done. the car itself is pretty much race ready. Only a few minor details like roll bar padding remain on making the base civic ready for the race.

The fan system needs a bit more work. The fan itself is installed and we have a sprocket for it. The mating sprocket for the CB750 motor should arrive today. That means tonight we potentially can have the motor turning the fan and creating more noise and safety risk in my driveway. The motor is mounted and seems to run OK on most of it's cylinders. We still need to armor the fuel lines so they don't get torn apart by bits of gravel.

The manifold is close to complete. I've welded up 90% of the frame. Mark is halfway done with the lightening/air passage holes in the center spar. Once he's done we just need to weld it in place and put on the skin. The sleeves that it mounts to on the car are already welded in and I've made the shackles, so it will be ready to hang tonight.

The big thing remaining is the ductwork. My dad came by on Sunday and Monday and helped us get a head start on it, but there's a lot of stuff to figure out. We've got to cut the hole in the floor and get some kind of bellows between the body and manifold.

Wish us luck!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Our Lady's Skirt

So part of the secret sauce of this project is to do something that nobody in racing has before: build a suction downforce rig that channeled the force directly to the wheels. The Chaparral and Brabham cars came after the rules had tightened, so they used the body of the car as the "manifold" on which the suction forces could act, requiring a very stiff suspension to keep the car from dragging on the ground when the fan was on.

We are building a completely separate manifold. Imagine an upside-down John Boat hanging off of the suspension by shackles near the wheels. Initially I thought we might make it out of plywood like a homemade boat, but the high forces, low profile and proximity of the cat lead to an all steel design. Needless to say it's not light.

I had hoped to use the shock mounts as a mounting point for the manifold. It seemed like a convenient way to hook in to the suspension fairly close to the wheels. Unfortunately in the front there is not a lot of clearance around the shock mounts, and the shackles that support the manifold would rub the front tire. We also noticed that the shock mounts move a bit more than we hoped, about 1" over the full travel of the suspension, which would in turn change the air gap around the manifold. So instead of using the shock mounts we welded sleeves to the lower suspension arm on the wheel side of the shock mount. This gave us more leverage to resist motion and also allowed the front shackles to be better positioned to avoid rubbing the wheels.

Check out the crappy cell phone video of the system in action. I'm pushing on the car to move the suspension, and the front beam of the manifold hardly changes its height relative to the ground!


Trevor went to the pull-a-part today for mufflers. It was pretty evident to us even before the CB750 motor was running that the straight pipes weren't going to make it past the 95dB@50ft@WOT noise restriction. It seemed a shame, as the pipes looked pretty awesome sticking out of the back of the Civic.

What he came back with was mostly rust. One of the mufflers had been packed full of acorns by an enterprising chipmunk. I was initially dissappointed with Trevors haul, as the mufflers seemed too heavy to put one each onto the pipes, but Trevor and Nick managed to turn it into a work of art.

Fuel woes fixed?!

So at some point we had, in addition to the regular fuel system, an additional electric fuel pump, a by-pass style regulator and a dead head style regulator all hooked up with a maze of tubing in a vain attempt at supplying the motorcycle motor with fuel. Fuel was everywhere. We eventually gave up on regulators and decided to buy a fuel cell so we could gravity feed the CB750. This lead to our next problem.

Without building a fuel bulkhead of inpenetrable steel, we would need to buy an FIA approved fuel cell. These are high ticket items with an internal bladder that has to meet FIA specs. Summit Racing doesn't even carry them. Unfortunately that didn't keep them from selling us one. After noting the lack of certification labels I got worried and started poking around the internet to learn the details of what makes an FIA cell. I confirmed with Jay and Dan at LeMons HQ. All seemed hosed.

But today: success! I think we fixed the problem! And ironically we did it by removing nearly everything we added. I think it was Nick and John that found this incredibly elegant solution. All we did was move the return line so that it had a curcuit that ran higher than the carb intake. We then tee'd off the return line at that point and voila, we had a fuel system delivering at low-low pressure.

Saturday, March 28, 2009


We finally got the CB750 engine running on all cylinders today. We(I) had a pair of wires crossed coming from the doohicky that triggers the spark units. In my defence, the wires were colored in pairs (2 yellow, two blue) so I didn't think it mattered if the yellows or blues were switched with another wire of the same color.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Me and My Buddy

As Mark said when we opened up a package: "It's full of WIN!"

Our flailing arm inflatable tube man has arrived. I think we got it from this guy:

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Fuel Blues

We worked on the wiring last night, hooking up the kill switches and start buttons for both the Civic and CB750 motors. The reward at the end should have been the thunderous roar of both motors. The actual result was fuel everywhere.
The Civic motor started up fine. The fan motor at first was not getting spark. After some wiring troubleshooting we got the plugs sparking and moved on to the next problem: no fuel.
Our plan to get fuel to the fan motor was to tee into the high pressure fuel line and run it to a regulator so that the carbs wouldn't get flooded with fuel. With no gas coming we took another look at our setup and realized we had plumbed into the low pressure return line. Another tee into the correct line and we tried again. The result: fuel everywhere. It was leaking from the carbs and from the regulator.
Turns out the cheap Holley regulator we bought is only intended for use with a low pressure fuel pump and can only handle a few psi of input pressure. The fuel injection on the Civic runs closer to 50psi and was overpowering the regulator which in turn overfilled the carbs.
So now we need to find a new regulator that can handle the high input pressure but still deliver only a couple of psi to the carbs.
Update 5 hours later: the tech guy at Aeromotive pointed out that we don't understand how fuel regulators work and put us on the right track. The key is that the bypass type regulators allow fuel to pass until the UPSTREAM pressure has dropped to the set point. Thus, even if we had a regulator that could handle the input pressure, it would have short-circuited all the fuel headed for the Civic motor. He suggested putting a bypass regulator on the return side of the Civic regulator, forcing all of the return fuel through it and raising the return fuel pressure to the 4psi setpoint to feed to the carbs. This will probably boost the Civic FI pressure a bit as a side effect. Either way, the Holley non-bypass regulator was not the one for the job.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Look upon my works and despair...

Our big challenge for the last couple of weeks was figuring out how to mount the fan securely. I was imagining a big water-jet cut piece of .25" steel that we could bolt the fan to that would extend out and attach to the roll cage. This made me sad, as it would be time consuming and expensive.
Then a big lightbulb smashed against my head while I was scrounging scrap metal in the shop. I came across a steel ring we had gotten when we were trying to mount a better vent fan in the server closet. It was essentially a piece of angle iron that had been rolled into a hoop. Fortunately McMaster had a large variety of sizes including a 24" diameter that would perfectly fit our fan's bolt circle. After adding some .125" gusseting around it, I'm pretty sure the car would have to be completely destroyed for that fan to move.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Need New Belts

We've had our racing harness sitting around for a while now. The cage needed to be in before we could install it. More recently we've been putting it off because we still had various bits to be welded, and we didn't want to risk damaging the webbing.

Now that we finally got them in.... they're too long. We have the kind with the bolt plates at the end of the shoulder harnesses and there's too much slack for the adjustment to take up. I've got the ones that loop around the cage on order.

We also noticed that the angle they make with our shoulders is much more than the 15 degrees in the LeMons rules. Partially because the SCCA rules specified 0-20 degrees, and also due to the fact that our shoulders come over the point on the seat back to which I measured. We'll be cutting out those tubes and putting the proper height ones in this weekend.

Magic Hub

Now that the motor runs we need to connect it to our fan. The simplest way seems to be to use the motorcycle's chain and turn the fan like it was the rear wheel of the bike. This lets us use the transmission to have some control over the motor/fan speed and to use the clutch if we need to.
The only trick is to find a way to mount a sprocket on the fan. Unfortunately the fan shaft is a 1-13/16" diameter: not exactly a stock size for a Honda chain ring. Thus we need an adapter hub. This one is designed to be built from a 3" piece of round stock and a 3/8" plate. We're having it built by a local fab shop because we don't want to spend $200 just to buy a broach.
Update 3/24/09: McMaster carries bushing mount sprockets for ANSI 50 chain which is compatible with the 530 chain that most motorcycles use. While McMaster doesn't carry 1-13/16" Taper-Lock bushings, Grainger does.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

It Lives!

Our motor lives! After peeling off all of the electrical tape and tracing wires that were joined by twisting together the stripped ends and covering with said tape, we finally got some cylinders to fire! Not all of the cylinders, but enough, and we think we can get the rest going too if we get the ignition wiring figured out.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

A Network of Tubes

Our cage install went pretty well. One bit of panic came early. We had tacked the main hoop, halo and front down tubes in place and thought "Gee, if we shift the whole thing forward we'll have better access to the welds". So we did. The panic came when we went to shift it back and saw that the final welds had warped the frame by about 8". Much grunting and pushing followed. Trevor and I eventually persuaded the cage into position using a Hi-Lift jack and a piece of spare tubing. We even still have all of our fingers!
A few more evenings of measuring, cutting and welding got the rest of the tubes in place.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Lucky Cage

Once we started measuring for a custom cage we realized that our measurements were coming out pretty close to what the S&W CRX cage would be. We had initially assumed that the main hoop would sit in the rear passenger footwell and that the S&W cage would be too short. The big Ah-Ha came when we pushed the main hoop back far enough that it sat on the rear seat. This is what the S&W cage was built to do, so it looks like it will fit pretty close.

We traced the design on a cardboard mockup and test fit it to the car. Looks like it will fit up fine.

The extra nice side is that the cage is cheaper than I thought. It's built out of .134 EWS rather than .120 DOM, so it costs about half as much.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Party Time!

Are you coming to watch us make fools of ourselves? Here's all the info you need:

Where: Carolina Motorsports Park in Kershaw, SC, about 4 hours from the ATL. We'll be camping at the track for the weekend.

Friday, 3 April 2009

  • 8:30am: Gates Open9am-4pm: Participant Check-In and Mandatory Vehicle Tech Inspection: YOUR CAR AND AT LEAST ONE TEAM MEMBER MUST SHOW UP FOR TECH INSPECTION ON FRIDAY.
  • 9am-4pm: CMP's Test-N-Tune Friday
  • 5-8pm: Mandatory BS Judging

Saturday, 4 April 2009

  • 7:30am: Gates Open
  • 10:00am: Mandatory Drivers' Meeting
  • 11:00am-7:30pm: Race Session I

Sunday, 5 April 2009

  • 8:30am: Mandatory Drivers' Meeting
  • 9-11am: Race Session II
  • 11am-noon: Quiet Hour (No Race Motors Allowed)
  • 11:30am: People's Curse
  • noon-4pm: Race Session II Continues
  • 4:30pm: Awards Ceremony
  • 5-7pm: Pack Up and Patch Out
  • 7:15pm: Gates Close
  • 7:30pm: Ominous Banjo Duet Starts

We will have plenty of food and probably enough beer. Camping is $50 for the weekend, but you can probably fall under our camping fee. There's power and showers, so it's not too primitive. Entry is $20/day or $30 for the weekend. We'll be there first thing on Friday for the Track-n-Tune.

Even more info can be found here.

Monday, January 26, 2009

We're in!

We got the email from Jay. We're in! Now we just need to write a huge check and actually be ready to race on April 4th. We will probably go up there late Thursday or early Friday. There's a track day on Friday that I'd like to get the car into. We'll probably wrap up just after the race on Sunday.
It sounds like we may have a fairly large group of spectators tagging along. It's ~$30 to get in as a spectator and the camping fee is $50 (We might be able cover you guys with our camping fee). There's showers on the campground. I'm going to start putting together a roster. Barry's going to cook, so we need to make sure there's enough food.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Getcher motor runnin...

A few months ago we picked up a motor that we eventually identified as being from a Honda CB750 to run our fan. The motor is overkill for the 20-30 Hp that I need for the fan, but it was cheap and it seemed to come with all of the little ignition doohickeys needed to make it go. We got it from a guy about an hour past Athens with an old shipping container that he was using as storage for his tractor repair shop. He was trying to get the container cleaned out of his past projects. After spending a couple of months leaking oil onto the shop floor at work, Mark and Trevor built a stand for it and took it back to his garage.
Trevor and I have made some progress getting it going. Trevor found some electrical diagrams online, and we got the motor to turn over. Now we just need to figure out how to keep the carbs from spewing fuel all over the floor.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


It was cold this morning. We decided to move the car into the garage to put in our $20 radiator. Unfortunately we forgot that the transmission routes fluid through the radiator to cool it and it managed to empty itself out in the 10 feet we traveled putting the nose of the car in the garage.

The new radiator didn't fit perfect, but well enough for $20. We didn't double-check the fittings, however, and it looks like one of the transmission cooler fittings is leaking. We went ahead and flushed the rest of the cooling system and we'll wait for our next session to pull the radiator out and tighten the fittings.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Dashboard Awesomeness

We're going to have the coolest dash of any car in the race. Pictured above is an industrial pressure gauge we got off ebay. The range of vacuum that it can measure ranges from 0 to 20 inches of water. That's about 0 to 0.7 psi. Useless for pretty much anything other than monitoring the vacuum under your sucker car.

Not only does it read the pressure, but I can also set alarm lights. Cool.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Wheels and Tires

After seeing the post race condition of the Turbo Schnitzel Merkur's tires at last years LeMons South, I knew that we'd need an extra set for Our Lady. After just 10-ish hours of racing the previously new Kumho Solus KH16 tires were toast. The tread was weirdly smeared and was starting to chunk out at the edge of the tire.

The Kumho's were H (130mph) rated tires, with a 440 treadwear. This time around we settled on the Hankook Ventus R-S2. It's got a 200 treadwear that puts us just above the 190 minimum for LeMons. It's pretty cheap at $75/tire and has a V (149 mph)speed rating. We knew we'd need two sets based on how chewed up the Schnitzel's tires got. Getting an extra set of cheap wheels would let us switch out a complete set without the downtime of mounting the tires.
I always assumed that low profile tires had some benefit to racing, but the only big performance gain seems to be the ability to fit bigger brakes inside of large wheels. There is still a good reason to upgrade the steel wheels on the Civic: tires. There's not a lot of performance tires that are made to fit a 13x5 wheel. 15" seems like the sweet spot for tires. Hence our junkyard search for some 15x6 wheels.
Unfortunately for us, the Civic has a 4x100 bolt pattern. A pattern shared by such notable sports cars as the Geo Prizm and the Mercury Tracer and ..... the Miata. A few Miata's came with 15" wheels from the factory, but most had 14's which are much more plentiful on Craigslist. While there isn't a huge selection of performance tires at that size, there are a few. The Hankook tire we picked is available as 195/60R14. $600 + tax and shipping later and they are on their way.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Pull-A-Part Bust

It turns out our radiator is mildly FUBAR'd. The radiator is mounted with pins that fit into rubber grommets. 3 of the 4 pins had been snapped off, so we figured we'd go find another at the Pull-A-Part. We also figured we might find some 15x6 wheels to better shod the Civic with.The web promised that the south Atlanta location had 9 4th gen (88-91) Civics on the lot. Unfortunately what the web doesn't tell you is that they are as picked over as a cow in a piranha pond. The only radiator we found was nearly folded in half.
We didn't do any better finding wheels. I had always assumed that the wheels were stacked separately somewhere since they had been stripped off of almost every car on the lot. I got a funny look when I asked where they were. Evidently the wheels are all gone because they get poached as soon as the car hits the lot.
Dejected at our fruitless trip we left. On the way back we stopped at a hubcap place that had stacks of steel wheels quietly rusting away. They wanted $53 each. We kept on driving.
On the plus side we found a new radiator on ebay for $20. That's right, $20. It's on it's way.

Roll Cage Plan

One of the biggest time sinks of prepping the Turbo Schnitzel car last year was getting a roll cage into it. The XR4Ti wasn't incredibly popular, so finding a prebent cage was problematic. We ended up piecing together a kit using a main hoop intended for a dodge something-or-other and the A pillar struts from a Mustang.

I had hoped that since the Civic was a much more popular car than the XR4Ti, we'd be able to easily find a cage for it. Alas, since the Civic DX 4 door is not your usual choice for a drag car, we've had a bit of a problem finding a pre-bent cage. I guess the whole Honda tuner phenomenon was focused on coupes rather than the budget economy transportation look of the sedan. The closest I've found is a CRX cage, but it's significantly shorter than we'd need for Our Lady.

We also have a few requirements for our fan mounting, so it looks like we'll be doing a custom cage. I've scanned in the drawing of the car from the service manual and I've been using as a template to design a cage in SolidWorks. We'll do some verification of the dimesions using some PVC pipe (1-1/4" sch 40 pipe has ~1-5/8" OD). Once we have the plans in CAD we can easily make drawings and have a local shop do the bending.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


We almost finished stripping out the interior and engine compartment last night. Out came the seats, dash, carpet and side panels. I found a petrified french fry, numerous pens and 26 cents. What remains is the door trim and headliner.

Under the hood we took out the AC system and changed the ATF and engine oil. Weight is one benefit of removing the AC, but we really just wanted to clear out some space in an otherwise cramped engine compartment by yanking out anything unnecessary. We also short circuited the heater core so we could take it out with the dash. We still need to get the radiator back in and track down the coolant leak. We may get lucky in that the leak is probably in the heater valve that we just short circuited!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Team

Unfortunately, the Turbo Schnitzel Team did not share my enthusiasm for this project. I was a bit surprised as I thought that a sucker-civic was a clear winner, but I realized that I would need to better present my case. After a caffine fueled night of PowerPoint I had all the ammunition I needed to convince the naysayers. Click the image to go to a copy that I've posted to

I managed to convert a few participants to my cause and we now have a 5 person team to race in April. The current roster:

Brian VanHiel
Trevor Crites
Mark Berkobin
Nick Reaves
Leslie VanHiel

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Car

My wife loved our Civic. It was a gift from her parents during college. Thus it was a little bit of a shock when when we came back from vacation to find it painted purple. You can read a bit more about it herein the Jalopnik PBR Article. She was understandably taken aback, even if the car had been getting a little long in the tooth.

My workmates had made a few miscalculations in their planning. First they didn't realize that the junker that I drove to work every day had any emotional value. They assumed that we'd return, laugh a bit, and then I'd finally buy the S2000 that I had been talking about. It sort of happened that way. I laughed, and then drove the car for another 6 months before getting my new(ish) honda. Leslie didn't laugh. She had this reaction:

That wasn't a lucky shot of her reaction. That was the pose that she held for nearly 30 minutes. She made me swear not to tell her parents. They didn't find out until over 2 years later.

When we put together the team that would become Turbo Schnitzel that ran in the first LeMons South, I had hoped to use the civic as our car. After all, it's already got an obnoxious paint job. Unfortunately I was voted down as my teammates wanted a more exciting car. We ended up with an '87 Merkur that blew two head gaskets, dropped the exhaust and boiled our brake fluid with a burnt wheel bearing. Exciting indeed.

This time around it's the natural candidate. Roomy enough for a giant fan and no turbo to blow up the engine with. It also happens to be sitting in my driveway, rotting slowly away. It's not without its problems:

1. Dead battery.
2. Only starts on 1/3 of key turns.
3. Leaks coolant.
4. Overheats (see #3).
5. Runs on what seems like 3 cylinders even when it does start.