The final event for 2015 ended with a bang.
Burnouts at DriftX had brought up a few little issues which needed some attention.
Once I made it back into the shed, my steering was feeling VERY weird. Turned out my steering rack had given up and had lost a few teeth. I could turn the steering wheel and nothing would happen for about half a rotation!
I had to replace the rack which was simple enough, then realign the car and get some fresh tyres fitted.
I’d been looking forward to driving at Winton ever since I started building this car. It was only the skid pan, but surprisingly it’s a heap of fun. So much room, one massive sweeper along with a few tight bends. I’d driven on it a couple times in 2014 with some friends and loved every session.
Not sure why, but I love driving skid pans with friends just as much as driving on main track.
Another thing I fixed before the day was my headlights! No more sad face!
Take note of what my front bar looks like here, it didn’t come home looking anything like this.
I loaded up some spares and tools, then headed out to Winton at 4am the next morning.
So far I’ve only done 2 Primal MC days, but both have been amazing. Great group of people, some pretty rad cars and a good atmosphere. Like I’ve said before, it’s events like this that keep me interested in driving.
8am, unloaded and ready to check out the setup!
Didn’t take long for the notorious Winton dirt to cover my car and make it look crap. Oh and the heat was ridiculous! It was something like 38ºC (100ºF for you american dudes) all day.
Quick driver briefing and a drive of the layout, then we could head out.
I may have mentioned this before, don’t remember, but I was going to try and drive most of the day without the handbrake. In the past, especially in the 180sx, I have always been a handbrake kid on entries and tight transitions. I’d been wanting to change up my driving style a little bit to see if it would make the car easier to drive. It somewhat changed, but I didn’t get enough driving in to notice a difference.
First run was rad! 3rd gear visibility was a bit difficult.
This was also the first time I’d driven with some proper power steering! I have to admit, I don’t think I’d be able to drive this car very well without power steering. I really want to weigh it someday just to see what the final figure is. At a guess, I’d say ~1250-1300kg which is stupid heavy for an S13.
But when it works, it works pretty sweet!
I did a couple sessions and had a break in the shade, wasn’t too keen on getting sunburnt.
After the morning runs, the car was feeling awesome. Plenty of grip, plenty of speed, steering was smooth and everything was handling great.
I went out for a third session just before midday, did 2 laps then went from 2nd to 3rd gear and the gearbox exploded. Not what I was expecting and not really how I wanted to end the year.
I always knew the gearbox would blow up at some point, but didn’t think it would be this soon. The car has a bit of power, the tyres are pretty big and I run zero camber in the back, so when the power comes on, the box gets put under a lot of stress. I have an idea of what may have caused it, but have no way of confirming it.
A few years ago a friend had his car at a similar height to mine and kept blowing gearboxes, but couldn’t figure out why. Turned out that when the car would squat, the tyres would catch on the factory cut guards (the car is wide body as well) and would stop the rotation. Therefore not allowing the gears to move and in turn breaking whatever gear he was in.
Now, remember how my car is tubbed in the back? After checking out my rear tubs, they both have heat marks in the tubs, which suggests the tyres have been hitting the tub under load. If this is the problem, there are a couple things I can do. One would be raise the car and run stiffer springs, but not too keen on that. Other option would be to cut the tubs and rework them so the tyres have more room under load.
The car still drove, I just couldn’t use 3rd. Parked up, just after lunch, my day was over.
I went back and watched a few other friends for a bit then started to pack up so I could head home once it finished.
Pretty bummed it ended how it did, but I’m glad it happened here because the track isn’t very far from home. The next thing on my mind was Halfway Hangs, which meant I had 7 weeks to organise a new gearbox and go over the car to clean things up a bit.
But before that, christmas was only 2 weeks away and this was going to be the first year I had all of the cars together as completed pieces!