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Pitchblack Motorsports Rally e30 318i (now with M50) - and some Porsche 924S stuff.

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  • irish44j
    Originally posted by paynemw View Post
    Where do you rally?
    Rallycross = The Rally Farm in Catlett, Va (south of DC)

    Rallysprint = Various places on the east coast, but particularly at Englishtown Raceway in NJ

    Stage Rally = where ever we can afford to. This year we are doing STPR (the biggest rally in the country, or so) in Pennsylvania and Black River Stages in upstate NY, and already did the Wellsboro Winter Rally in PA.

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  • 95maxrider
    I'm loving the old Escort and Z, but that sucks about the tree!

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  • paynemw
    Where do you rally?

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  • irish44j
    Well, let's get caught up a bit. I haven't really done anything to the car recently mechanically, just a few minor electrical things that don't really warrant any attention here. Also ordered six new rally tires (four Dmack Grippas for gravel, and a pair of Maxsport Mud/Grass tires for slippery rallycrosses, as you'll note why below...)

    Anyhow the 2017 Rallycross season started a few weeks ago at the new Rally Farm venue (which we used for some events last year). This year all events (including East Coast Championships) are there - which is going to make it tough for me to repeat, as it's been pretty clear over the past few seasons that I'm faster on gravel than on grass. Guess time will tell.

    First event promised to be a test....because the groun was soft with several very muddy and slippery areas. For as much as I love the Dmacks for most things, mud is NOT where they excel. But that's what I had, so that's what I used.....

    Unfortunately, 2016 runner-up Eric Eisele had a bit more foresight, showing up with fresh Maxsport Mud/Grass tires on all four corners of his 325i. I'm not going to waste much time with a full-event recap because from the start there was little drama at the top. Eric, between his great driving and great tires, ran away with the win by over 10 seconds over 2nd place. But that wasn't me. Jeff Geier came out of the blue to take 2nd (moving up from PR last year). He was not on Maxsports, but did have a rally tire with a more soft-centric tread (IMO) and drove great as well. I eked out a 3rd place with Josh Sennett (in his now-functional M50 e30) and a couple others right behind me.

    In short, this is gonna be a super-competitive season in our class with about 10 e30s all with a chance to win at any given event, plus Corey now bringing back the turbo Volvo, but now with a Ford LSD rear end (so no more breaking?).

    The April event was cancelled due to a ton of rain and we'll have a May doubleheader. Let's hope it's dry!

    A couple pics

    Some other stuff....

    Last weekend I sold my GT6. Just couldn't give it enough time, and it was collecting dust in my shed. It's been in the family for 47 years, but now it will go to a new home (a friend who I know will drive it and enjoy it and work on it). Makes me a bit sad, but happy it will keep being enjoyed.

    The black fleet together for the last time

    Then the next day this happened:

    That's my neighbor's 100-foot red oak....which obliterated my deck and back porch. Thankfully didn't damage the house itself, nor did it hit my trailer parked next to the deck...but it's another thing to deal with.

    But whatever, the next day I still loaded up the car to go to New Jersey for the NASA rallysprint at Englishtown Raceway - a combination tarmac and dirt event..

    A lot of neat rally cars there, some of my regional favorites. The course was about 4 minutes+ long (2 miles on a track and a motocross course). It took a toll on a lot of cars, but we survived with no damage and put up times comparable to or better than most other RWD cars there - most of which were more prepped than ours and with more experienced drivers. But the course (both parts) was tight so the more powerful cars coudln't use their power much, and my car's rallycross chops came into play to make it very competitive....

    So, got about 45 total minutes of on-course time during the day (and evening) with Brian Battocchi co-driving for me since Jim couldn't make it up for the weekend.

    Here are some pics of that:

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  • irish44j
    As it turns out, the original alternator I put back in started squealing under load too. I checked the adjusters and they were maxed out and the belt (which I installed just a month or two ago) still felt too loose. So I got the spare out and sure enough...both the PS and Alternator belts had clearly stretched. Not sure how that happened in such a short time (wonder if it had to do with rapid heating and cooling cycles in a wet winter rally, idk...) but once replaced, both the PS (which had started to feel a bit wonky) and the alternator both worked as original now.

    So basically, I'm thinking the 105A alternator I sent back was actually just fine. Since I had just replaced the belts I didn't think to re-check them. So that's actually good news.

    Thinking back, the belts I had were not the brands I usually use (Gates, Conti, or Goodyear) but some other brand I bought locally. I will not make that mistake again.

    Currently ordering a couple of each for spares from RockAuto, since the Conti belts there are only a couple bucks. Guess M42 parts aren't very popular these days.....

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  • econti
    Stock alternator won't push enough power? Just run two.

    I'm a real ideas man.

    (the diff studs are a fantastic idea)

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  • irish44j
    So I guess it's time to catch up a bit. With the cold weather and other things going on the post-WMWR work on the car has been sporadic at best, so will try to touch on a few things.

    First the post-rally inspection. Well, it's dirty:

    Looks like our off into the ditch took a bit of a toll on our right-side wheels. One of them was flat by the next day (appears to be a mild debead that has some debris so it won't seal, so will get it remounted).

    Both wheels have a couple dents in the rims, but they appear to be ok for use - this set with the 175 DMacks will become the rallycross set anyhow, as I'm going to order up some 185/65s that fit better on my other set of weaves (which are 7" wheels) for STPR and future rallies.

    A lot of much up on the skidplate, but after rinsing stuff off and inspecting, I don't see any kind of damage or other issues under there, so that's a good thing

    As you may recall, our almost-new 105A e36 Delco Professional alternator bit the dust just after the rally ended, so I sent it back to RockAuto and they sent me a new one. Fingers crossed that this one holds up better. I find it funny that my 30-year-old OEM Bosch alternator that has never been rebuilt still works fine after years of beating, but a new one can't. WIsh the Bosch just had more amperage!

    I also managed to finally get my hands on a 4.10 LSD, also. My car originally had a 3.91 small-case LSD with the M10 engine, which I've used on and off over the years. When the clutches went bad last year I switched to a 3.73 LSD medium case which we used at BRS and WMWR, plus some rallycross. However, I wanted a shorter ratio to keep me a bit more in the powerband on slower transitions in rallycross and give a bit quicker acceleration in rally, and this 4.10 kind of fell into my lap. It appears to be in good shape with good lockup.

    Pressed a Condor Speed Shop solid bushing in (taken out of my 3.91, which is being sold)

    Opened it up and fluid was pretty clean, no shavings, nothing that concerns me. Action is smooth and no play in the bearings or lash, so that's good as well

    Also, since putting diffs in is a pain in the ass with the bolts, I chopped up some of our spare Motorsport Hardware lug studs (same pitch and thread) to make some diff studs, which will make install easier.

    red loctited and tack welded them in as well so they don't unscrew themselves.

    All that done, on to more fun stuff. After five years my original "cosmetics" for this car (which were a mishmash of rattle-can and vinyl) is pretty beat up, and the main vinyl pieces are kind of torn up from the abuse. With a couple warm weeks here in February and early March, decided to get moving with the new(ish) paint scheme. A bit tired of the black and white, and wanted a bit more color (dark color, of course).

    So first, we take all the old stuff off about 75% of the car (the front doors and one fender will remain in the black-on-matte-black scheme for the moment....I have my reasons).

    Then some priming

    I initially was going to do some vinyl wrap, but the color I had here wasn't as dark as I wanted and didn't like the look, so took it off

    As luck would have it, Pat Henry had a bunch of rattle-cans leftover from his Comanche project - three cans each of three different dark reds. All of them were close to what I wanted, so I did a test-band to see the differences

    So I picked one and got to work laying down the base of all the areas to be repainted

    This isn't so much a total change in look, just an evolution. So got out my straightedge and started cutting 2" vinyl striping in matte black, and began to apply. A few funky areas resulting from trying to line up the lines to the stripes already on the hood and the trunk, but overall fairly pleased with the look.

    Carlos from Condor Speed Shop is sending me some new side graphics to replace the old white ones, and I'm looking forward to seeing how it will all look! In the meantime, I got out the vinyl cutter and made some new stuff of my own (including new numbers for rallycross, new windshield banner, and some other stuff).

    It's supposed to snow a foot on Monday-Tuesday, so no idea if the DC Rallycross season opener the next weekend will be a go....will keep you updated.

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  • irish44j
    Here are some other / action shots

    By Mike Seitz (on our crew)

    By Lori Lass

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  • irish44j
    We haven't posted the vids yet - Jim is formatting them this week. There is one posted on our Facebook team page though, of one of the stages if you want to check one out.

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  • TeXJ
    Sweet pics. Did I miss the link to the video?

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  • irish44j
    Got some stills of our off into the ditch. Closer to the tree than I thought at the time - the ditch saved us some damage (though we were only going about 40mph). Apparently we thought it was funny...

    a few seconds later, as we were trying to get out...

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  • irish44j
    Waste Management Winter Rallyspring 2017 (SCCA)

    We headed up on Friday to our second WMWR since it became an SCCA event (it was previously a Rally America event, with basically the same format). Like last year, the field was fairly small (15+ cars) due to the unseasonably odd weather. Usually in mid-February in upstate Pennsylvania it's very wintry. Last year it was cold but no snow. This year there was a good amount of snow on the ground but temps got up into the 60s, so the stage was a messy mix of ~6" of snow, slush, mud, some ice, some gravel, and every other surface you can think of.

    loaded up

    This made tire choice interesting for everyone. About half the field left on snow tires and the other half on gravels. Last year we used snows in similar conditions and ended up flatting two of them, which sucks. So this year we decided to go with the gravels - we'd give up some traction and speed, but would be able to "abuse" the tires a bit more without fear of flatting. Keep this in mind for later.

    Ozgur and his/our crew trying to get Alp's e30 ready to a shopping center parking lot

    About half of the field was in our class, R2U (2WD cars under 2.5L engines/NA), with some accomplished regional drivers who we know. With the conditions, it was sure to be a battle fo FWD cars for the class, with most RWD cars just fighting it out amongst ourselves for bragging rights. This proved to be the case, in the end, with FWD cars taking the top 5 spots in the class.

    On the RWD side were Alex Jagger and Ryan Symacek in their 240SX, Billy Petrow driving the Broken Motorsports 240SX, Ozgur Simsek and Brian Battocchi in Alp Seyhan's BMW 325i (a last-second replacement for Ozgur's e30, which wasn't quite complete), and Rober Pepper's Porsche 944, plus one or two others I'm possibly forgetting. I think all the RWD cars except Ozgur's went out with gravels.

    During the Friday recce it was clear that traction was going to be questionable in many areas - sunny-side areas were getting a ton of melting turning to gooey mud and giant puddles. Shady-side areas still had full or partial snow cover and were very slick as well. THere were some dry(ish) gravel areas here and there, but not many. In the soft areas, this stage gets very, very rocky with big chunks getting dug up by the high-power cars, making some danger for underbodies and wheels/tires.

    Transit into the sunset

    Friday night we got tech'd (no issues) and then met up with some of the other drivers at a local bar and while Jim recopied his stage notes at a table, I drank way too much and chatted with a table ful of locals nearby. I don't usually have hangovers, but had one all day Saturday lol....oops.

    we love Pepper's Porsche. From Fairfax, VA same as us :)

    Local brewhouse...

    Before the rally, we drove over Petrow's skidplate to try to straighten it. Didn't work, so they found a bigger weight...

    The off to parc expose, where we signed some kids t-shirts and hung out before starting off

    Turner and Rhoads, who would go on to win overall

    Alan's Neon


    We started mid-pack on Saturday in the draw. WMWR is the same stage run 5 times (3 times one way, two times reversed). Each stage is about 10 miles or so with transits of a few miles. We went out pretty cautious to feel out the conditions on gravel tires (we did recce on snow tires).

    First stage was fairly uneventful other than one steep, long hill that begins after a sharp right turn (so hard to carry any speed). This was tough in recce with snow tires and promised to be tough on gravels. As luck would have it, we turned the corner and.....Alex Jagger's 240 SX was midway up the hill backing down after failing to get to the top. Since we had no way to help, we went "two wheels off the track" and did oiur best to get past them and up the hill. Somehow by the slimmest margin we managed to get through and went on to finish the stage - not terribly fast but clean.

    The 240s after finally making it up the hill (both had issues)

    Second stage we went out with more speed and again had no major incidents that I recall, but knocked about a minute and a half off our first stage time, which is good.

    Third stage was interesting as we caught up to one of the Subarus, and managed to pass them. About 5 minutes later coming into some tree-flanked kinks, when I went to make the right kink the tires didn't bite at all and we slid right at the tree. I straightened them out and aimed at the smaller tree to the left hoping to get some braking bite, and we managed to stop a foot short of the tree. The Subie went on by us again, and we got back on his tail for the rest of the stage.

    Then off to service - got a bit of fuel, and cleaned some glass. And ate some good food made by our and Ozgur's crew. Our crew stayed busy , however, helping out Ozgur and his crew making multiple repairs to Alp's e30. So there is that.

    ON the first reverse stage, just a minute in we found that same Subie overcooked a corner and stuck in some snow. We stopped to try to give them a tug out, but it was a slippery downslope and we couldn't get any traction at all when pulling so they unhooked and we went on our way, now with Tad Uzzle's Mazda2 on our tail. We let him go by after a couple minutes, but ended up catching him and passing him again.


    Some other photos

    On the second reverse stage, we went out faster but about halfway in I overcooked a slippery turn and had a small off, but happened to be where a rock was buried in the snow. We hit pretty hard on the back wheel, but kept on going. As it turns out the wheel was slightly bent and it caused a slight air leak, but it held up for the rest of the stage with no noticeable issue (and both wheel and tire shoudl be salvageable). We had another chase with Tad in the Mazda but didn't catch him this time. Instead, by 3/4 of the way through the stage we were a turn or two behind Tad and Paul Batman had come up on us in his Impreza. Didn't really have a place to let him by in the last section of the stage, at least safely, so we just pushed harder and he dropped back a little bit. The last two hairpins were tricky as the car was so mud-covered I coudln't see anything out the side windows so was basically asking Jim to call out the apex so I knew when/how much to turn. As we hit the last stretch, a half-mile long stretch with mostly 4s and 5s (fairly mild) turns, the surface was still partially snowy. We hit the last right 5 fine, but on the following left-4 I couldn't hold the track and we slid toward the trees on the right at a good clip. (Luckily) there was a water-filled ditch there and we basically fell into that with the right wheels, stopping us from hitting any trees with Jim's side fo the car, and I pushed on down the ditch trying to get out and hitting random objects in the way. As it happens, Batman followed us directly into the ditch as well, but managed to jump back out quickly (AWD), so he roared by and I mnaged to give it enough gas as the ditch got shallower and we popped up and out (and almost went off the other side of the road lol). So anyhow, that was like 50 feet before the finish. So we finished!!!

    We transited to time control and then started to head back to the Rally HQ area and.....lights and car went dead. Voltmeter showing zero. Before stage 4 I noticed that the alternator was doing funny things with all the lighting on, but it seemed to have stabilized. Guess not. I think we ran that whole stage with full lighting on and no alternator charging! Recall that I just installed this one (a 105A unit to handle our lights) to replace our fully-functional 80A alternator. Figures.

    Luckily, our crew was heading down the same road and saw us. Chris Nonack and Mike hung out while Stepehn took my tow rig to get the trailer. After about an hour we loaded up on a gravel road and went to Rally HQ.

    As it turns out, only two RWD cars finished the rally - us and Jagger/Symancek, who got stuck several times and were far behind us. Robert Pepper's 944 fought an electrical issue and bowed out on the last stage with a failed alternator. Petrow's 240SX lost a front wheel and/or hub and had to be picked up on stage. Ozgur and Brian battled all kinds of issues all day (blow-out rear shock mount, fuel pump relay, etc) and eventually broke their oil pan on stage 4 and retired. The R2U class was won by our friends Kevin Turner and Matt Rhoads in their FWD Impreza on snow tires (also the overall winners!), followed (I think) by the Beliveau Boys from up north in their Golf and Alan Edwards in his Neon (who hit a tree last year). We had no major/damaging offs and no penalties, so those are both good things.

    Ozgur's oil pan

    Petrow's lack of wheel

    Then we had some celebratory Gennys

    Then we all went out to a bar and drank some more with the other drivers, navis and crew

    All in all, not a fast or trophy-winning performance, but with the conditions out there taking out about half the entry field, we're pretty happy to have gotten through with only a few small issues (two banged-up wheels and the alternator issue). While we'd love "great" conditions (i.e. either all-snow, or all-dry), this kind of event is challenging and I think it improves my driving more than anything else - plus we had a good time with rally friends and crew.

    On the way home, we stopped at some middle-of nowhere car lot we passed, as Jim has been talking about another vehicle to haul engines and generally use for utiliy tasks and during this trip seems to have gotten onto the thought of a Baja. So we saw this BFE car lot with liek 10 cars, but a silver Baja sitting there. Hooked a U-turn with the trailer an went back. Nobody came out to talk to us, so Jim just got in the car and stood in the bed (but did not buy it) ,lol....

    So, got home, unloaed, unpacked, washed the tow rig and the rally car, put the trailer away. Tomorrow I'll do an inspection fo the car for any other damage and swap back in our old alternator and send this one back. .

    Mike (our crew) took a ton of awesome photos of us in action, so hopefully I'll be able to post those up here in the next couple days. Also we ran 3 GoPros on the car (roof, inside middle, and one facing back at us) so once we tet some video edited, will link that up.
    Posted some updates on our facebook team page, please visit us there and give us a like!

    Upcoming schedule: DC rallycross in March, DC rallycross in April, NASA Rallysprint in NJ in April, more rallycrosses, STPR in June, more rallycrosses, Black River Stages in September. All tentative!

    Thanks once again to our crew for this event: Mike Seitz, Stephen Nichols, Katie Spoth, Chris Nonack, Brian Morse, an Tyler (whose last name I forget, because I suck at names). Also thanks to the WMWR and SCCA organizers, especially our friend SueAnne Carson!

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  • irish44j
    Yeah, it's not that big of a deal really since we only do a few rallies per year. Static cling definitely would not work (rally cars get a bit more "weather" than race cars do lol). Magnetic isn't a bad idea, except my current driver's door has so much paint (and/or body filler) in it that magnets don't stick.

    The thought has actually crossed my mind to just get a second set of front doors, painted the same, and just have alternate series decals on them lol....

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  • phenryiv1
    Originally posted by irish44j View Post
    Also got the decals for WMWR in the mail, and they look great. Sadly they required removing my NRS banner and Black River Stages cars. With us running in three different organizations (ARA, NASA, SCCA) is't like a game of musical chairs swapping out all the required numbers, decals, banners, etc. I have a few ideas about how to make this easier, but those will come later.
    What about a large static cling background, on which you adhere the vinyl event/organization-specific vinyl sticker(s)?

    Not permanent, reusable, and while not weather-proof, they are used on racecars all the time.

    You could also look into large-format magnetic backing but if you want it on the windshield the static cling will work better. When adhered on clean, smooth surfaces they should endure a pretty good amount of water and wind. The only issue would be if the sweep of the wipers overlaps.

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  • kts
    Originally posted by irish44j View Post
    Euroweaves (15") for my street Star Specs. Need to figure out where to cram all tese things in my garage!
    I'll be happy to store those Euroweaves with Star Specs for you... ;D

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