Monday, December 6, 2010

Here we come, Miami

We've committed to doing the Miami race on New Year's eve. Working on the car is a little more frustrating than we thought. The D15 block is in the car, but it runs like the timing is off 1/2 tooth. At the end of the last race we had some problems shifting into 2nd and we reluctantly opened it up with the expectation it would need a sychro. Glad we did. The countershaft was missing most of two teeth and would have locked up entirely if we'd done another race on it. Oh, and all of the axle boots are torn to shreads.

On the plus side the lights we're adding will look really cool.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Cool seat

Since the hot weather didn't seem to be letting up, I decided to build something I had been reading about for a while: a cool seat. Our first race at CMP was in late July and we struggled to even make it for 45 minutes in the car. That's where we first learned about the existance of cool shirts and we resolved to get them for the next race... until we found out that the base unit was $300 and everyone would have to buy a $100 shirt.

I read about someone building a cool seat on the LeMons forum and this struck me as a great idea. By building the cooling into the seat there was nothing attached to the driver and no need for each driver to buy a pricey cool shirt.

Our cool seat cost us about $100 in materials. It consists mostly of 1/4" vinyl tubing and fittings. It has 5 separate circuits looping through a seat pad that has horizontal lines of stitching to keep the tubing in place (thanks Mom!). The tubing connects to some 3/8" tubing that goes back to the $10 Walmart cooler and the $25 bilge pump that I got at a boating store.

One of the challenges was figuring out the fittings to get from a 3/4" hose outlet on the pump to a 3/8" tube. I ended up ordering a barbed tube reducer fitting from McMaster and using a short length of 3/4" tube to connect it to the pump.

The biggest challenge, and the one we kinda failed, was securing the cooler to the floor. We finally ended up just bolting straight through the floor of the cooler and sealing the bolts and washers with caulk. The cooler was pretty secure, but the caulk never cured (we left it for 3 days) and we had to run the race with a trash bag in to try and prevent leaks in a container with a couple of gallons of water, a loose pump, and two frozen milk jugs sloshing around. Needless to say we only made it about halfway through the second stint before we got black flagged for leaking what looked to the corner workers like gasoline.

It did keep our asses cool when it did work, so for the next hot race we'll have a larger capacity cooler that's better connected to the floor.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

What to bring.

Not having the trailer to pack all of our tools in meant we had to be a bit more selective about what we brought. The car didn't have any major mechanical problems, but there were a few things missing that still could have gotten us into trouble.
  • RainX/FogX - Our Lady has no wipers and no interior ventilation. We tried to purchase some RainX on Sunday morning, but none of the local gas stations had it. I spent a good portion of the morning session driving blind around the track. Seth had to drive to Camden to pick some up and it made a huge difference in visibility.
  • Dikes - Lots of pliers, but not much to cut with.
  • Wheel Spindle Socket - If we needed to pull the axles out we'd need the socket that fit.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

LeMons South Fall 2010 - Friday

A special thanks to Phil's BS camera for the photo.

Craig and I didn't finish packing up the car until close to midnight on Thursday, so we decided to leave Friday morning and set up in the daylight knowing that we'd probably end up with a camping spot in the boonies. We got to CMP around noon and were surprised to see that there was a spot next to the Tunachuckers directly across from the judging area.

With Johnny gone they were short handed on BS judging and I happened to be standing in the right place and got handed a robe. I realized after a few minutes just how much car knowledge Phil and Jay have and spent most of my time watching them work and trying figure out a way I could contribute.

Our Lady finally made it through tech and Phil spoiled the moment by opening the hood. Seeing the B-18 in there he bumped us up to class A but didn't give us any laps.

Monday, September 27, 2010

11th Place!

We had a fantastic and nearly flawless race this weekend.

We ran ~2 hour stints to minimize time lost during pit stops. The driver order was Brian, Steve, Craig, and then Seth.

The front wing didn't last long. A 944 got squirrelly in front of me and I gently tapped it with the front wing support. It stayed together, but was damaged enough that it needed to come off at the end of my turn in the car.

We had some clutch slippage during my stint that got progressively worse. Steve started his turn in the car and we started looking for Integra clutches. The closest was Columbia, so we had Seth's wife pick it up on her way to the track.

Steve got pulled in for a mechanical. Our cool seat cooler had started leaking water and they thought it might have been gasoline. We ended up not running the cooler for the rest of the day. It had lasted about half of my stint, and was a great asset when it was working.

Fortunately the clutch issue turned out to be air trapped in the clutch slave that we bled out while getting Craig in the car. Craig and Seth's runs were relatively uneventful. We were adding about 9 gallons of fuel at each driver change. We did the first two driver changes in the paddock, but the last one we did in the hot pits.

Thanks to Micheal Rennick of the #6 GRR Motorsports Escort for the picture.

The siphon tube had slipped out of place on one of the tanks and Steve had to pour the fuel in slowly to prevent spilling. That pit seemingly took forever. After I replaced the tube we were able to dump a can of fuel in ~1 minute.

We finished the day in 13th place.

Day two we ran the same driver order, but due to the quiet hour we had to run unequal times. I ran the first session and what started as a light sprinkle turned into a steady rain. I had to come in twice to get the fog wiped off the inside of the windshield. The fog had gotten so bad that I was navigating the track by feel.

The car seemed to have a big advantage in the rain (when you could see the track). I was able to easily pass the rear wheel drive cars with ease.

I pushed it a little too far on the front straight while drag racing the Dog Ciao alpha. I started hydroplaning as soon as I touched the brakes and ended up in the overrun area. We got a free pass out of judging since it was our first real offense.

The failed pass occurs ~50:30 in this Track Geeks video.

During the quiet hour Seth ran out for some much need RainX and FogX. He made it back from Camden with just enough time to get it on the windshield for Steve's stint.

The RainX and FogX did the job and Steve put in his stint with improved visibility, but continuing rain. The rain started to let up and we did driver changes in the hot pits, adding 5 gallons at each driver change for both Craig and Seth. By the time Seth was in the car we were battling the #80 Tortoise for 10th place. They were only 3 laps ahead with 40 minutes to go and had slowed down to conserve fuel. It looked like we might catch them, but they noticed our encroachment and got on the gas enough that they finished about 1.5 laps ahead.

We weren't too disappointed, since 11th is our best finish yet!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Getting ready for fall.

We're getting ready for the fall race, and it may be our cheapest yet. We haven't had to spend much on the car, just a head gasket and some new plugs. The old gasket looked fine, so my suspicions on the cause of our overheating now turn to the radiator cap failing. A new 16lb cap and some cooling fans will hopefully keep us on the track. We took the opportunity to check out the head and harvest the ARP studs from the old engine to put in the current one, so I don't feel like we did any extra work even though the head gasket was fine.

We've got two new team members for this race. The complete roster is: Brian, Craig, Seth, and Steve. Both Seth and Steve are into drifting and hence have some tire hookups. Seth was able to get our fresh set of Azenis mounted for us. Hopefully there's a real alignment in the future too!

Emissions have been a bit of a problem. I tried testing it without any changes. We pretty much failed everything. Next I swapped out the "test pipe" and put the crappy aftermarket cat that was in the Civic back in. On the retest we did better, but still failed NOx by a small margin. Over this last weekend Seth put what I think is the OEM cat from the '95 Integra in. It's got a horrible exhaust leak, but it should pass this time around.

Seth also had an old 5" tach lying around that we've mounted. Hopefully it will keep me from bouncing the rev limiter on every shift.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

What did we learn this time?

  • Bigger fuel cell - One thing that became apparent is that we need to have a 2 hour endurance if we're going to minimize our pit time. We might be able to get away with the existing tank if we can figure out how to wring all 12 gallons out of it. I had intended to investigate our fuel consumption with more rigor, but we seem to be coming in after ~1.3 hours having used ~8-9 gallons.
  • Bigger wing - I think the wing works. A wider wing that is mounted a bit more forward could help us make some faster turns. We need to do some HPDE days and see what effect the wing has.
  • Better instruments - The stock guages are hard to read with the smaller steering wheel. I'd also like to add oil pressure and temp gauges.
  • ARP head studs - The oil cooler is the only thing that saved our head this time around. A good gasket and a well clamped head is what we need to keep our coolant where it belongs.

LeMons South Spring: Day 2

Mark started day two with a full set of the fresh tires. Attrition had taken its toll, and there were significantly fewer cars on the track. Mark set our new fast lap and then brought it in for Leslie to take a short stint.

Leslie ran the car about 20 minutes and then it was off to watch the car crushing. We had voted the 666 car because they kept trying to force holes where none were available. Twice during my stints they made their passes into three-wide-white-knuckle-and-screeching-tire affairs. The Mitzubishi, which was the leading crush contenter, was slow enough that our encounters were brief, but he kept trying to mix it up with his cousin in another car. In the end nobody got the crush, and a team volunteered their honda for the crusher.

I went back out to sit in some yellow flag traffic. Once things started to speed up I noticed that our temp gauge had gone from normal to pegged. I immediately let off and came in.

The car was running fine and the radiator reservoir had water in it, so we suspected that the gauge might be kaput and went back out. After a couple of fast laps we started seeing white smoke and brought her in again. Realizing that the gauge was working and that the radiator was in fact empty, we let the car cool down and added some water. I took the car out again, short shifting at 5k rpm and ran another 25 laps before I started risking some 10/10th's driving. About 5 laps later I was watching the gauge climb again. We refilled the water and I took it out again, this time keeping to my 5k rpm limit. Because everyone else out there was in limp mode as well, I found that we were passing just as many cars as we had the day before.

I ran the car to 1/8 tank and then came in to let Nick take it out, and he ran it to the checkered.

LeMons South Spring: Day 1

Since I've historically gotten slightly screwed on driving time, I took the car out first. The car handled great, but I was a little disappointed that the rudder had absolutely no effect on the car's performance. I managed to set the fast lap time for the car that would stand until the end of the day.

Mark was next. We did the driver and fuel in the hot pits and it went pretty smoothly. the new fuel jugs were much better than our old cans at getting gas in the car.

It was then that the rains came. Sprinkling at first, we stopped to return Judge Phil's camera that was bolted to the car, and then in torrents. Mark had to come back in again to wipe the fog out of the inside of the windshield. I expected mayhem out on the track, but the teams out there held it together.

Once the rain stopped and Mark started running low on fuel we brought him in and sent Leslie out. The seat pad we made for her helped her visibility, but she was still a bit too cautious, and it made her slow, which got her passed a lot, which made her more cautious. She came in thinking she had been black flagged, but it had actually been for someone else and went back out. She ended up running about 30 laps in her first stint.

I went out for my second session and just about went off track. The car oversteered into turn one and I almost lost it. I took the next couple of turns a bit more cautiously, but nearly lost it again. I had brought the car in and we discovered that the tire had picked up a 10mm wrech. it had punched its way through the bottom of the tire and was sticking out of the sidewall. We swapped a new tire and I went back out but I was unable to beat my morning fast lap despite having what felt like several clean laps in a row.

Mark went out to drive on some dry pavement. He, like Leslie, got hit by a misdirected black flag and went right back out.

When Mark came in we swapped the front left tire for one of the fresh Azenis and I took the car out for the final stint of the day. I managed to beat my previous fast lap by a tenth of a second a few laps before the checkered.

LeMons South Spring 2010: Pre-Race

Mark and I had planned to leave around noon on Thursday so that we'd be able to set up the tents in the daylight (for once). But our dream did not come to fruition. We had some last minute welding to do on the tail boom that we wanted to have done before we left.

We arrived about 10pm. In the dark. Again. Our favorite spot in front of the pit entrance was taken, so we took what we thought was the next best thing: overlooking the carnage on turn 1. A few beers later and the pop-up tents were set up and the car unloaded.

Turbo Schnitzel had similar time management problems to ours, but because they planned on leaving after work on Thursday, they didn't actually pull into CMP 'til 5AM.

Friday was spent trying to get the tail working in preparation for the parade through Camden. The track owners and some of the business owners in town had arrainged for the cars to be paraded through town and the BS judging perfomed at a block party with a band. We were lucky in that Our Lady was still street legal, so we didn't have to trailer her down. The only problem we had was that we had left our beer and food behind. Fortunately there were enough local businesses to provide for our beer and pizza needs. Having everyone in one place for BS was great. We got to see a lot of the teams and their costums/themes that we would have missed with everyone spread out over the paddock.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Yaw Control

Because the wing is not quite absurd enough on its own, we decided to add some additional airplane parts. We're thinking of using parking brake cables hooked up to the swaybar to actuate it.

Monday, April 26, 2010


Since we have the luxury of a running car we took it down to the Atlanta SCCA autocross event this Sunday. The novice orientation took place on Saturday, but our car's lack of windows was incompatible with the 3 inches of rain that fell. Mark and I met up with Jeff and his friend Mark. The had brought their Merkur that they've done a pretty nice job of turning into a track car.

Thanks to Kevin from the Hong Norr racing team for helping me through my first day. Piloting through cones was harder than it looked. I did my last run with Mark in the passenger seat (and without Kevin) and only managed to wander off course once.

Racing in the car was fun, and it was great to get Kevin's feedback on the car. There are some things we need to change.
1) Smaller steering wheel: will keep the driver from hitting his legs with his hands and effectively make the steering a higher ratio.
2) Lower clutch pedal: the engagement is pretty high and makes the leg-steering issue worse when shifting.
3) Put the trunk back on: we're sucking a lot of exhaust into the cabin with the wing.
4) Patch the holes in the floor: they're another source of exhaust fumes.

Location:Turner Field Green Lot

Saturday, April 3, 2010

You won second prize in a beauty contest. Collect $10

We took the car to the Georgia Tech auto show this weekend. It was pretty fun. The car got lots of attention. We even managed to get second place in the Race and Experimental category. Chip's GT40 replica beat us out for 1st.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


We never aligned the front wheels after we put in the new steering rack at the race. After we got the motor back in and drove the car it handled pretty badly. We finally got around to looking at the alignment today. The front had 1.5" of toe-in! That would explain the crappy handling.

The alignment specs from the integra service manual are:

  • Front Caster: 1°10' +/- 1°
  • Front Camber: - 0°10'+/- 1°
  • Front Toe-in: 0 +/- .08 in
  • Rear Camber: -0°45' +45'/-1°15'
  • Rear Toe-in: .125in +.08/-.04

Monday, March 1, 2010

Pull-A-Part Shopping List

  • civic seat belt bracket - $3.52
  • intake manifold - $19.39
  • exhaust manifold - $18.88
  • wire harness - $13.06
  • alternator - $17.30
  • flywheel - $14.08
  • driver's side motor mount - $7.50
  • windshield wipers - ~$25

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Engine installed!

I found an engine on Craigslist this week. It was just a long block, but it was only $350. We figured we could put it in and rebuild our original B18 while still being able to drive the car around.

It took Mark and I most of the weekend to get it in, but she started right up!

Much of the time was spent switching manifolds and other bits. If we get the time, I'd love to go get a second set of those bits to make swapping motors something we can do quickly. We also should consider re-helicoiling the block. The helicoils at the mount are a bit messed up.

Here's what we'd need:
94 wiring harness
Driver's side motor mount
Exhaust manifold and downpipe
Intake manifold
Clutch and flywheel

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Due to the predictably crummy weather at Southern Discomfort we ended up with many fewer pit crew groupies coming to the race. The upshot is we got many extra t-shirts to offer to the crapcan racing public. The shirts are American Apparel. I have sizes M, L, and XL. $15 ea shipped. Contact me at if you're interested.

Residual Value = 0

I guess Jay just doesn't have any confidence that we can win:
Hey, Brian: Taking it all into consideration, given the cost of replacement parts and likelihood of an overall victory, with an adjustment for falling commodity costs and the increased value of competition provenance now associated with the car, how about we agree on a residual of...oh, I dollars? Lemme know if that's still too high. Best--JL
Now we just need to find an engine.

Friday, February 19, 2010

To Do List for May

  • Create checklists - We need some pre-race and pit stop checklists to make sure lug nuts are tight and that there is oil in the car. I'd also like to log driver time and fuel loads.

  • Rebuild/Replace Engine - The first step is to get the current engine out of the car and see what's broken. Then, fix it. We at minimum need a connecting rod and a rod bearing. The valve guides are probably shot as well.

  • More Wheels - The Miata daisy wheels we have are very light. I'd like to get another set and have a backup set of tires on them (more Azenis).

  • Gut It - Remove any excess weight. Cut out door interiors, remove stiffeners, and drill big holes in the wing spar.

  • Brakes - The brakes worked great. We just need to flush the fluid and check the pad thickness.

  • Steering - Check for clunking and look for a higher ratio rack.

  • Steering Wheel - A smaller wheel would make getting in/out easier.

  • Seat - A real race seat would be nice.

  • Door Bars - Once the interior is gutted we can put in Nascar style door bars to give us a bit more space.

  • Gas Cans - Our experiment in modifying our gas cans failed. We need to just pony up and buy decent cans.

  • Direct Downforce - Connect the rear wing spring to the sway bar to carry the load to the wheels.

  • Rudder - Use the sway bar ends to turn the 210 rudder.

What did we learn this time?

So this is our third race with Our Lady. Our second in it's current wing configuation. We were ecstatic with how the car performed. We weren't insanely fast, but we were better than average. For a short time on Saturday morning, when we seemed to be passing everyone in sight it seemed like we almost had a chance to win. Of course our dreams were shattered by the track drying out and bucket full of black flags. All that was before the engine went kaputnik.

So what did we learn?
  • Check the engine - We dropped all the oil out of the car last race and did nothing but cross our fingers for this race. We should have at least done a compression check to ensure that we hadn't fried something.
  • Buy the better gas cans - The cans we tried to modify were a total failure. The sealant was eaten by the gasoline and all we were left with is a fire hazard. Did I mention one of them leaked all over my new sleeping bag? It was so cold I slept in it in spite of being a spark away from becoming the human torch.
  • It's cold in February. - Being able to fully enclose the 20'x10' pop-up tent was a life-saver.
  • Keep better records - We still don't quite know what our fuel consumption is or exactly how long we can run on a tank (I think it's about 2.5 hrs).
  • Torque everything - I'm not sure what happened to the steering rack bolts, but double-checking the torques on critical components might have caught the problem before it was too late.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Southern Discomfort Day 2

We slept in.

Thinking the car was toast, the day ahead seemed like it would be a relaxed nirvana of drinking beer and watching cars go off in turn 1.

I had slept a bit better than my compatriots. During our last trip to civilization I purchased a second sleeping bag to double my insulation in the freezing weather. The previous night I talked to a couple of the Duff Beer guys who had agreed to check out the damage to the Civic if I tore off enough pieces for them to get a good look. I got started.

The damage was pretty apparent when I got the oil pan off. The bottom of the pan was a hearty stew of tar and metal shavings and the oil intake was stuffed with what looked like lathe turnings. The damage seemed to be contained to the #2 lower conrod bearing. It had been completely consumed and the rod was just rattling around on the crank.

Having expected only to see mass carnage, this was some great news. It meant we might actually be able to put in one of the bearings Nick and I had picked up at the Pull-A-Part and get the Civic back on the track. Craig and I set to work grinding the conrod bearing surface smooth and getting the bottom end back together while Mark and Nick removed the excess metal from the oil pan and pickup.

We got her back together, dumped in a gallon of oil and started her up. The horrendous racket we had heard earlier was gone. We sent Mark out to see how she did. He came back in after a few laps to check the oil. It seemed OK so we sent him back out. At this point it was already past 2pm. The plan was for each of us to take one of the three remaining hours in the race.

I gave Craig the next stint knowing that the car's odds of making it to my stint were low. I wanted to drive the car at the checker and I also knew that I wouldn't be able to resist winding it out a little bit more than the 5000 RPM we were trying to limit ourselves to. When Mark came in we could hear that the gnome's little brother had moved in and had started pounding the inside of the engine with his own little hammer.

Craig drove a short series of successively slower laps, barely making it into the pit before the engine quit.

We watched the remainder of the race, happy that we had gotten her back on the track even if it was for only a couple of hours.

Hanging out near the judging station we happened to be around when the awards were being decided, so we had a little advance knowledge that we were likely to get the Dangerous Homemade Tech award. I'm not sure that we had too much competition this race, but it still made our day.

Southern Discomfort Day 1

Discomfort is an understatement. Friday was nothing but rain, cold, and wind.

Since the track was still wet Saturday morning, we put on the T1R's that came from the Miata wheels. The better rain tires and big wing proved to be a big advantage and after a few ginger laps Craig was passing cars. One small problem became apparant during Craig's stint. The steering has a 60 degree dead zone. We'd be fine if we only had to make right turns, but the one sharp left on the track required some real planning to execute. After Craig had been out for 1.5 hours of racing I got in the car. I had a good run once I figured out the car's quirky steering. I almost went off track the first time through left-hander because I thought the front end was sliding. It turned out that I just hadn't turned the wheel far enough.

Mark took over once the gas ran out (I was in the car about 45 min). Mark drove fast but he picked up a black flag for passing on yellow. We were given the Bob Ross penalty. We probably spent a little too much time, but we got lots of compliments on our artistic skills.

I went back in the car after Mark's flag and turned some fast laps. The track was drying out and the other cars were getting faster relative to Our Lady. I got into some trouble trying to hang with the same cars I was passing during my first stint. I went 4-off after going wide and getting into the gravel and debris in the outside of the tight right-hander. Jay let me back out without a driver change, but his leniency was not rewarded. I ended up 4-off again just 8 laps later.

They contemplated a more severe punishment, even toying with making us teach Chantelle how to drive stick, but decided against it given our horrible, horrible steering. In the end we just sat out for 15 minutes. Craig went back in, and Nick and I went to the Pull-a-Part to try and get a replacement steering rack. They only had 4 Civics of our generation, but fortunately two of them had manual steering racks.

Just as we were about to leave I got a call from Craig. He had not only managed to get a black flag for contact, but there was a pretty horrible noise coming from the engine and they were going to start taking off the head to diagnose it. Nick and I checked out the two Integras that were on the lot, grabbed a couple of valves off an '87 whose head was already off, and then started trying to get the slightly better head off the '91. With 5 minutes until closing Craig called with some more news. The valve cover was off and the valves looked OK from the top, so a conrod bearing was the new suspect. With mere minutes before closing, Nick and I tore off the oil baffle on the '91 and were able to extract two conrod bearings.

Once we got back we took a break. We hung out with the Swede Sixteen guys that Craig had hit and ate some of thier shrimp. While we were hanging out the Duff Beer guys stopped by with thier wagon full of homebrew. The berry beer was excellent.

Back at the track we swapped in the new steering rack. It turns out that the two bolts holding the rack in had fallen out and the rack was shifting left-right on the rubber bushing. The only thing keeping the rack from shooting out the side was the splined shaft to which the steering wheel connects hitting the sides of the clearance hole in the body. As long as the steering inputs were light the rack wouldn't shift, but during racing the steering gets pushed hard enough to shift it back and forth. This is what made the left-hander and the following right-hander so interesting all day.

We drained the oil to find that there was less than a quart of tar where 5 quarts of engine oil had been that morning. We tried adding fresh oil and running the car for a few minutes, but it still sounded like an imprisoned gnome was trying to beat his way out of the engine block with a 3 lb hammer.

We tried a compression test to see if we could narrow down what was effected. We got 155, 60, 60, 160. Obviously we had at least two problems. Thinking the engine was a goner, we gave up on the car for the night and joined the Tuna Chuckers. The Chuckers had started drinking earlier in the day when their oil got dumped on the track and their engine ate itself.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Seat Brace

One of the items we needed to address for the next race was the seat. To be in accordance with the rules the seatback must be restrained from going backwards. In many cars the harness bar will serve this purpose but in the Civic the harness bar is about a foot back from the seat with an average sized driver. We snuck through tech the last time by having the seat back a bit further than normal. Not wanting to risk it again, we decided to get a brace installed.

The off-the-shelf solution is a bar like the one from I/O Port Racing:

The I/O Port model is aluminum and ~$90. Being cheap we decided to make one at 1/2 the cost and about 4x the weight. We bought some telescoping steel tubing from McMaster-Carr and welded up some scrap. Here's the result:

Friday, January 22, 2010

Sway Bar

The Civic sedans didn't come with a sway bar from the factory. There's not even a place to mount it. We got the rear swaybar from the Integra when we swapped out the rear brakes and lower control arms. It's a paltry .5" in diameter. It was suggested that we need something like 1000 lb/in rate at the wheel. The stock Integra bar is closer to 15 lb/in.

Fortunately the front sway bar from a Jeep TJ is about the same length as the Integra bar. It's also 1-1/8" in diameter. Since torsional stiffness is related to diameter^4, the Jeep bar will be over 25 times stiffer than the Integra bar. Of course it's lever arm is also longer, so that reduces the rate by a square factor.

We couldn't find a place to make it fit underneath the car, so we mounted the bar to the cage and used some tubing to connect it to the wheel. I think we ended up with the right balance between hoopty and clever for LeMons.


We were all ready to put the transmission back together when we had a scary realization: the LSD isn't going to fit. After doing a little research we discovered that the S80/Y80 transmissions had slightly different guts depending on whether they were bolted to a B18B (non-vtec) or a B18C (vtec). The B18C transmissions got a different final drive gear, pinion shaft and different bearings. The final drive gear is on a different bolt pattern than the B18B version, so we can't swap our final drive gear onto the B18C LSD.

We were basically left with three choices:
1) Put it all back together with the old diff and give up on our dream of LSD.
2) Buy a final drive gear and pinion shaft (~$800) and turn our transmission into a B18C version.
3) Get an OBX LSD (~$350) for the B18B and sell our B18C OEM LSD.

#1 is unacceptable after all this effort. #2 blows our budget. That leaves #3. We heard enough scary stuff about the OBX during our research that we went with the used OEM unit in the first place, but now it's looking like the only option.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Almost Famous

Murilee put us in his LeMons Legends post!

Link here!

Saturday, January 2, 2010


So we've finally started to make some progress. We ordered a used limited slip from Japan on eBay. We were pleasantly surprised that it actually showed up.

We found some YouTube videos that make it look pretty easy to put in. The first video shows how to take the open diff out. The second shows how the limited slip differential goes in, and the third shows how to put the transmission back together.

Evans Tuning Video 1
Evans Tuning Video 2
Evans Tuning Video 3

So we pulled the motor out and got to work. While the motor is out we'll take the opportunity to modify the motor mounts. When we first put the motor in we noticed it came close to the front radius rods that run from the lower x-member to the lower links of the front suspension. Lowering the front x-member on spacers fixed the problem but created a new one. The reduced caster makes the car feel a bit more squirrely. Moving the motor up .5" will allow us to put the geometry back to stock.

Here's what the inside of our transmission looks like.

The videos are great, but they assume that you're doing the job right and not "the LeMons way". They used new bearings and bolts. We're going to use the old bearings and cross our fingers because we don't want to spend another $70. You'll notice that the old differential has sealed bearings and the LSD that came has tapered roller bearings. We'll need to press the bearings off and put them on the LSD without destrying them.

Mark also took the time to take the puny front anti-sway bar off. We need a stiff one at the rear to let our front tires have more grip. Hopefully we can find something off a bus.