The Racecar! ’87 Acura Legend Coupe

16 05 2012

The Racecar

The car is fairly solid, with minor rust and body damage as is to be expected with a 25 year old car.  The engine feels pretty strong, however, there are some oil leaks.  Pretty certain the valve cover gaskets are leaking, as well as the oil pump gasket.  Its a pretty decent leak.  The 5 speed transmission feels pretty tight as well.  We hope to leave that as is and that it will last all race.  The entire front suspension needs replaced as all the bushings and ball joints are shot!  We are going to replace the upper control arms (since you can’t just replace the upper control arm bushings on this car), the tie-rod-ends, and lower ball joints on both the passenger and drivers sides; with OEM equivalent of course.  The rear of the car seems ok.  I don’t think we will have to replace anything there (really hopes so).  We will probably end up cutting the stock springs to lower the ride height and also increase our spring rate.

The interior of the car was shot!  I mean there were more tears in the leather than there were areas without tears.  Not that that really matters since this car will be completely gutted.  I mean totally and utterly gutted.  Everything that doesn’t make this car move or stop will be removed.  The sunroof will be coming out and a aluminum sheet will be welded in place as per the rules.  All of the glass will be removed, with the exception of the windshield of course.  The dash will be removed and we will simply mount some gauges and kill switch to the roll cage.  Once gutted, a roll cage will be custom made and installed by driver Donnie Shealy.  We will try and remove as much of the undercoating as well.  I know that will be a painstaking process, but if we can get 50+ pounds removed then it will be worth it.

In order to be safe and not burst in to flames on track, the 24 Hours of Lemons and Chump Car World Series (CCWS) have certain safety items that must be installed.  I already mentioned the kill switch; the kill switch must shut off all power to the car and completely kill it, and must be accessible by the harnessed in driver and safety personnel.  We must also have a fire extinguisher mounted in the car that is also within reach of the driver.  Another must have is a racing seat and 5 point harness, so we will get those too.  Another safety modification that isn’t mandatory but recommended is a fuel cell.  I really want to install a 15-20 gallon fuel cell in the trunk, and then remove the stock tank.  Whether or not we get to depends on the budget.  Brakes are also considered safety items as they help us avoid other morons… er I mean drivers.  Lemons says brakes are free, and CCWS says they can be replaced at two times the cost of OEM without adding to your total competition value (I’ll get to that later).  We will also be adding brake ducts to help keep the rotors cool and extend our pad life.  Exhaust is also free downstream of the headers.  For us, we are just going to fabricate the exhaust so that it exits on the passenger side behind the front  wheel.  We just have to keep it below 93 decibels.

Reliability is the key to finishing an endurance race.  With that in mind, I want to make sure the cooling system is up to the task.  Ideally that would mean replacing the stock radiator with a new higher flowing unit, but that will add to our total competition value in the CCWS.  So depending on where our CCWS AIV (i’ll get to that one later too) ends up, we may have to leave the stock system in place.  I would also like to add an oil cooler, but again it depends on the budget.  All of the hoses will be replaced and double clamped.  When at the track we can only use water as our coolant.  We may just end up having to vent the hood by cutting some holes in it to help airflow.

We will probably run the stock 15×5.5 wheels, wrapped in either Dunlop Direzza Star Specs, or Falken Azenis RT-615K’s.

There is so much more that will be done to this car, I just can’t think of it all right now, and this post is getting really long! haha

Stay tuned for updates, and pictures of the build.  As you can see to the right, we have 8 months left before our anticipated first race.

Thanks for reading!



The Rules

16 05 2012


OK, so we want to race in the 24 Hours of Lemons and the Chump Car World Series (CCWS).  Basically its crapcan racing in $500 dollar cars.  Each series defines that $500 differently.  Lemons is basically a bill of sale for $500, whereas CCWS makes you prove your Actual Internet Value, or AIV.  In order to prove AIV, one must find and print off at least 10 classified ads from the likes of craigslist, autotrader, and sites like that, from each region of the US, Canada and Mexico.  The sale price from each ad must then be added up and divided by the number of adds, which then gives you your AIV.

Lets say you have a car you bought for $500 off of craigslist.  You still must prove the cars AIV.  So you do a search and find 10 ads. Lets say they ads selling prices are: $500, $550, $600, $650, $400, $475, $530, $700, $495, $580.  Add all those together and you get = $5480.  Now divide that by 10 and that gives you an AIV of $548.  Keep in mind that the ads you use to prove your AIV must be for the exact type of car. If your car is an ’84 Celica, 5 speed, 2 dr coupe, then each ad must be of the same year model, same transmission, and same number of doors.  So with an AIV of $548, which is obviously over the $500 limit, your car would be giving BS laps, or penalty laps.  Modifications all have competition value, and add to your AIV.  So you then added coilovers and a new radiator, well now your competition value may be $700 plus, giving you a bunch more BS laps.  Bottom line, bring a stock car that has been refreshed with OEM parts, proper safety gear installed and go racing, or…. prove AIV, get BS laps and then go racing.

I am at the point where I think taking some added competition value may be worth it if it increases the reliability of the car.  Like a radiator, oil cooler, and things like that.  Sure you may get 25-50 BS laps, but your car may stand a much better chance of not breaking down, therefore allowing you to turn laps and finish the race, and reduce your expenses.

But to add to the confusion, CCWS just released a $500 magic list.  Meaning if your year model and make car are on that list, then are automatically qualify as $500 cars.  No need to prove AIV, which is a painstaking process.  However, the car must be stock!  You still have to do all the safety requirements, and you can change the brakes using the two times OEM cost rule, but no replacing the stock radiator with a hi-flowing unit, or adding an oil cooler, and things like that.  Once you do any of that, it automatically bumps you off that magic list and you again have to prove your AIV and get a competition value.  so….

Which way to go???  Not sure yet.  But stay tuned!