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Arca's Time Attack Build Thread (13b-REW Swap)

Old 11-30-2013, 11:08 AM
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Arca's Time Attack Build Thread (13b-REW Swap)

EDIT 3/23/14: If you're looking for 13b-REW content, it starts at post #109.

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Well, here it is. Finally decided to start a build thread to try and help chronicle the progression of my car and share experiences at the track and also get feedback to help make the car faster.

Long term goals for the build:
Compete in Global Time Attack in the Limited RWD class.
Secondary goal is to try to stay competitive in NASA Time Trials and the UMS Tuning Time Attack Series, but eventually it will only be going to larger scale time attack events.
Naturally Aspirated 20b or 13b-REW mated to a Faceplated (Dog Engagement) T56 Transmission (This is YEARS off in the future, don't get excited.)

I've learned a lot from this place over the years and had some trial and error with the car, feel free to laugh at stupid mods or mistakes or miscellaneous rice-tastic happenings with the car.

The following pictures show two of the photos from the Craigslist ad when I bought the car in May of 2011 and how it sits today. I'll do a recap of the build up to this point in the following posts over maybe the next week or so, and then start with what I'm doing on the car right now. It's been on jackstands for almost a year while I've been gathering parts and funds and motivation to work on it, which has been hard since my main distraction has been a 1994 Miata R Package that my dad purchased and I've been helping him build that up and co-driving it at events as well.



May 2011:
2005 RX-8 Touring, Whitewater Pearl, 6-Speed Manual, approx 75k miles.

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November 2013:

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Old 11-30-2013, 11:31 AM
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So this car was my first car and daily driver. I had never needed a car but for my Junior year of college I had moved back to the parents house (rent was way cheaper there LOL) and needed transportation. Bought this car on an impulse knowing almost nothing about rotary engines besides the very basics of the internal workings. After I brought it home I began pouring over thread after thread here just taking in as much information as I could.


The mods on the car when I got it were:
Ricer autozone fog lights
19x8.5 front and 19x9.5 rear XIX X05 wheels that were painted gloss black on the lips and candy apple red metallic faces.
Shitty chinese tires.
K&N Typhoon V2 Hot Air Intake
Eibach Lowering Springs
Blown out original shocks
Mad tyte vortex generators


Here's a picture of me driving the car for the first time. Was my first time driving a manual car as well but I picked it up quickly. Never stalled it and to this day the original clutch and trans is still fine to my surprise.

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Fast forward a couple months to August 2011. I had done some basic things like an Axial Flow short shifter and JDM clear corners. Here I am at my first NASA Arizona event at Firebird International Raceway West Track. My new friends that I had just made in the Arizona Mazda Club kept insisting that I come out to a track event, so I signed up and was pumped. I had never really known that road course type events even existed at an amateur level that anybody could participate in so the whole experience was mind blowing to me.
I had no idea at the time but this was the initial push down a very slippery slope. After seeing all the cars out there and making some awesome new friends, I was hooked.

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Here's me out at Firebird again on their skidpad participating in my first SCCA Solo autocross event. It was fun but left me craving more track time (runs were only about 45 seconds), the amount of seat time compared to a normal road course event is almost nothing, but it was fun and good practice. I only participated in one more autocross a bit later after this and then went to driving pretty much only road course.

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Last edited by Arca_ex; 11-30-2013 at 01:15 PM.
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Old 11-30-2013, 11:50 AM
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Some of the first modifications to the car were BHR Ignition, New Plugs, and Agency Power Dual Resonated Midpipe.

One of the coils was going bad and causing the car to run a bit rough, but since I'm super dooper smart now from reading all these awesome threads here, I knew that coils plugs and wires needed to be replaced since the previous owner had no idea when they were last serviced.

I also got the midpipe because I was scared of the life expectancy of the catalytic converter since the ignition had been in less than stellar shape. I pulled it off and put it aside to use for emissions just in case, and thankfully it looked like it was in OK shape.

Plugs that I pulled out with unknown mileage:

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Old 11-30-2013, 12:03 PM
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Next up was the first "big" round of upgrades.

The tires and brake pads on the car barely made it through my first track event... the chinese tires were chunking to pieces and the brake pads were pretty much down to the backing plates. Also the blown shocks and slamming off the bump stops the whole time and body roll needed to be addressed as well.

I purchased some Powertrix Coilovers that orignally came with a requested 10k/7k spring rate, I love these things as a super budget friendly coilover setup that is track capable, but in the future will be considering switching out to something that is more of a "track only" setup.

I also purchased Progress Tech sway bars and whiteline spherical endlinks from a local forum member and installed those after the brakes and coilovers. Awesome upgrade.

And for a track set of wheels/tires I got some 17x9" +45 Enkei RPF1's with Dunlop Direzza Star Specs with almost all the tread left from another for sale thread here in the classifieds.

Pictured:
Powertrix Coilovers
Hawk HP+ Brake Pads
O'Reilly's Brand Blank Rotors
Agency Power Stainless Braided Clutch and Brake lines
ATE Super Blue Brake Fluid

You'll soon learn that I am excellent at rationalizing additional upgrades with the "While I'm doing this, I might as well do this too" line of thinking.

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Installed:

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New ride height that was initially too low:

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Now it was time to hit the track. I had advanced quickly from HPDE1 to HPDE2 in my first event, then the next event I advanced again from HPDE2 to HPDE3. I was learning quickly and had great instruction on track from close friends that helped me a lot.

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This is my second and last official autocross event. Fun stuff but just not for me, always left me starving for more seat time. And it didn't help that my favorite part of driving on track is sketchy high speed sweepers. At our local autocross I was never able to get out of 2nd gear.

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Old 11-30-2013, 01:57 PM
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Started modding the car a tiny bit more, and started getting more serious about the track. My good friend Todd (Flashwing) gave me his old Espelir JGT500 catback exhaust and I did a couple other small odds and ends.

So after this I went in to get a Dyno to get classed for the UMS Tuning Time Attack Series. Power mods were:

BHR Ignition
K&N Typhoon V2 Hot Air Intake
Agency Power Midpipe
Espilir Catback

Here is the dyno sheet, very disappointing to say the least.

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But oh well, I was having a good time. Next steps were taking some weight out and of course adding stickers to try and make up for that lost horsepower.

On the way to Sevenstock 13 I believe it was:
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Firebawlz back at Firebird West Course again:

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Putting on some new 11k/8k springs that Powertrix hooked me up with when I was able to meet Charles at Sevenstock:

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Next tried to regain some power...
Went to BHR Midpipe, AEM Intake wrapped in DEI Gold Reflect (which actually dropped intake temps 6 degrees closer to ambient. Intake air is now only 5 degrees above ambient when moving instead of 11), and got an Accessport with tuning from Jeff at Mazdamaniac.

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Also, cheap e-bay catch can just in case.

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Brake master cylinder brace (really helps with pedal feel while threshold braking).

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Old 11-30-2013, 02:16 PM
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I then sold the hideous red wheels that weighed 23508972385907 pounds, and got some stockers off of an Evo 8 that actually fit pretty decent. 17x8 +38 and even the hub bore matched the RX-8. Good wheels for daily driving and going to from the track.

Also more stickers because I needed more HP.

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Then comes the splitter build. This worked way better than I thought it would but over time the Arizona sun has taken its toll on the ABS plastic that I used.

Car apart to measure up and make a splitter.

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Rough shape cut out of the splitter. It also replaces the undertray. Used 1/4" ABS plastic that I found sitting in my garage.

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Just sitting in place being held up by some wood blocks.

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Started working on supports. The splitter is attached to the lower bumper lip with bolts, and then I used threaded rod and fender washers/nuts to secure it. I bent the threaded rod around a coffee can and then covered them with plastic sheathing.

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Done.

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As you can see over time it has gotten warped. One thing on my to do list is to build a new one out of Alumalite and to also make it bigger.

Also, the first time I had this out, everyone made bets as to how long until it ripped off the car since it is only attached to the bumper and to the two undertray bolts towards the back of the splitter. It has taken some pretty serious impacts and offroad excursions and has seen speeds up to about 130MPH and it has never shown any signs of failure. The next revision of the splitter will be supported by the front crash bar though since it should be producing much more downforce. This one is 4.5" beyond the bumper lip and the new one will be about 8" beyond the bumper lip.

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Last edited by Arca_ex; 11-30-2013 at 02:21 PM.
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Old 11-30-2013, 02:57 PM
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great thread. i have always hated your splitter. Function>form though
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Old 11-30-2013, 06:13 PM
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Originally Posted by yomomspimp06 View Post
great thread. i have always hated your splitter. Function>form though
LOL, just wait then. The new aero package that is in the works is much more ridiculous.
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Old 11-30-2013, 06:42 PM
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At this point for the sake of keeping some sense of time it's about the first or second quarter of 2012.

So after I switched to the BHR midpipe it changed the angle of my exhaust tips a little bit, I figured it was fine since BHR fitment usually has an excellent reputation but after my first track event with it on this happened and I have just left them off ever since.

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Added some gauges. AEM digital. These are okay gauges, I wouldn't buy them again. The LED indicators around the ring of the gauge that sweep as the number changes are going out. There is 2 or 3 of them burnt out in each gauge now. I don't know if it's the Arizona sun doing its thing or what the hell the problem is but oh well. It still displays the numbers just fine. I'll use these until I eventually just use a RacePak dash or something similar.

Also deleted the air pump for a little weight reduction.

Racing Beat adapters:

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AEM Gauges and Lotek gauge pod.

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Installed:

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After this there was a local dyno day coming up. Seafoamed the car for good measure the week before.

Mods for this dyno:
AEM Cold Air Intake
Agency Power Pulley
BHR Ignition
Throttle body coolant bypass
BHR Midpipe
Espelir Catback
Accessport with MM Calibrations

It dyno'd 1HP higher and 5TQ higher... I started to suspect the APV's were not opening and that maybe the engine was not in the best of shape even after the new round of mods. I know these cars don't really stand to gain any power N/A but ONE HORSEPOWER? C'mon...
Started planning for a preventative rebuild before I lost the motor. Also at the time it had begun leaking oil but I couldn't tell from where.

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Old 11-30-2013, 07:38 PM
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After figuring out that power mods were pretty much a total waste of money, the only way I was going to make this thing faster was to start taking weight out... and this is where the slippery slope got REALLY steep. I was just going to take out the sound dampening stereo and a couple other things but you can see that I got carried away, and before I knew it there wasn't a whole lot left in the car.

This was basically the turning point where the realization set in that I will pretty much never be able to sell this car and that it would one day be a dedicated track only vehicle.



Race Car Funds!

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Getting a little bare in there...

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Removing sound deadening with dry ice. The best way to do this is to crush up the dried ice in a thick NON SEALED plastic bag and then spread it over the area. The smaller the chunks the better.

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18lbs of sound deadening removed.

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Sun roof unit was heavy, so I took it out and replaced it with a plexiglass insert. I cut it out of some smoked plexi that I had laying around in the garage and secured it with aluminum angle irons, flat head machine screws that I countersunk and then sealed it up with some flowable silicone.

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Old 12-01-2013, 04:08 AM
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Good to see you put this all into one thread.

Did you remove the a/c? the whole system is pretty light, but its great for cooling too.

How much weight have you removed?

keep up the updates!
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Old 12-01-2013, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by shr3da View Post
Good to see you put this all into one thread.

Did you remove the a/c? the whole system is pretty light, but its great for cooling too.

How much weight have you removed?

keep up the updates!
Well the last time I weighed it, with half a tank of gas and without me in it was 2810lbs. It still had the whole A/C system, stock sized lead/acid battery, the head unit for the stereo, power windows and all stock wiring/glass, with just the drivers seat installed (Sparco Circuit II) and a 6 point roll bar. There is still a lot of weight to be taken out.

I now have the A/C out and will be removing the dash soon to gut everything underneath it, and still need to pull out lots of wiring, get a lightweight battery in there, gut the doors, take the door windows out, replace the rear door windows with lexan as well as cut out that rear speaker deck and some other items.
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Old 12-01-2013, 02:35 PM
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So at this point, probably around the middle of 2012, my driving is starting to improve very rapidly. I was now driving in the advanced group, HPDE4, and started participating in the UMS Tuning Time Attack Series, the class in which I was in is limited to 15.0lbs/HP power to weight ratio or greater, DOT approved tires and those are just about the only major constraining rules.

Track event at Firebird International Raceway Main Course:

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I also moved up into NASA Time Trials after earning my TT License, and was competing in TT-C. There was only one other competitor in TT-C the weekend that I "tried out" during the last session, but I edged him out by a couple tenths of a second and since it was a new configuration for our region, I set a track record. The track was Inde Motorsports Ranch in Wilcox, AZ.

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And hey, look at that, I was starting to get some podium finishes in my Time Attack Class. When you podium you get a "cookie" as the prize lol. The pink piggy is unrelated if anyone was wondering.

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It was smoldering hot outside and I was seeing super high temps on track. Coolant was always 230+ and oil was 250+. I decided some hood vents could help and was not afraid of cutting up my stock hood since the paint was in terrible shape. The clear was flaking off and the color had started yellowing, I suspect the car had some sort of minor damage to the hood and the previous owner bought a new one and had it sprayed on the cheap since there are no accidents on the cars record.

Flaky Crap:

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So I sanded everything down and ordered a louver kit from Gen Right Offroad, these are normally meant for Jeeps but they are very versatile, just cut and rivet them on. I was afraid of the hood losing structural integrity and when I cut the holes it got really flimsy but as soon as I riveted the louvers on it was just as strong as stock once again.

Traced and ready to cut:

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Holes cut and sanding off all the crappy paint:

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I also fabbed up an HID light rig that attaches to the tow hooks for an upcoming night event and also added some cheapo foglights since I had taken the original Walmart specials out that the previous owner had fitted. The track I was heading to (Arroyo Seco Raceway in Deming, NM) is in the middle of nowhere, and only has one small incandescent light bulb near start finish. The rest is absolutely pitch black. More about this later.

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Last edited by Arca_ex; 12-01-2013 at 06:48 PM.
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Old 12-01-2013, 03:42 PM
  #14  
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show us your seat already, gosh
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Old 12-01-2013, 06:37 PM
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I'm getting there haha, it's not very exciting it's just four bolts through the floor pan.
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Old 12-01-2013, 07:06 PM
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So, new mods are done. Meet up with some buddies and it's off to Arroyo Seco Raceway (ASR) in Deming, NM. A 5 hour drive from Phoenix, AZ.



I'm going there to participate in the Annual Night Attack event which is part of the ASR Super Lap Series of time attack events. The ruleset is the same as the UMS Tuning Time Attack series I am already participating in and the car was sitting at 17.8lbs/hp which was a little outgunned (the limit being 15.0lbs/hp) but I was hoping my extra lighting would allow me to go just as fast during the night as I was during the day.

So I loaded up my wheels and my buddy's wheels:

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Met up with my buddies for the 5 hour drive:

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And then promptly got stuck in grid lock traffic IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, adding about 2 hours onto our already miserable drive time while we all sat cooking in race cars.

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I finally made it out there and this is where the picture that has been in my signature for awhile was taken, during one of the practice sessions right as the sun was setting.

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Now the fun part was coming. To give you guys an idea of how unbelievably dark it was out there, here is a video of my friend Tim who helps run the ASR Super Lap series and knows the track like the back of his hand. He has a WICKED fast Evo 9 that he dominates unlimited class with, and last time I checked he was pushing almost 500AWHP to the ground and the car weighs just a tad under 3000lbs. I'm sure he's putting down more power and taken more weight out since then.

Also keep in mind, that the traffic on that highway is moving at 80MPH and he's blowing past it like it's standing still.

If you are interested in seeing another awesome racecar build thread, you can find the story of "Project Grey Bush" here: CrucesStreets.com - View topic - Kidloco's project Grey Bush



To my surprise, the lights paid off. Driving that track in the dead of night was still absolutely terrifying and I went almost 2 seconds slower than during the day, but most of the other people with insufficient lighting slowed down by 5 seconds or more.

This was my first win at a Time Attack competition, and instead of just a sticker, I got a sticker AND A SWEET MUG!

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Yeah buddy!

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Last edited by Arca_ex; 12-01-2013 at 07:14 PM.
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Old 12-01-2013, 08:56 PM
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wow, thanks for posting a thread. Inspires me to do my first hpde and maybe move up the ranks..

though i could never hack up my interior and turn it into a race car. Bucket seat and a bar to attach the harness to is as much as i think i would be willing to do.

I like your vents, i was going to get shitty hood for cheap and cut and insert a evo hood vent.
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Old 12-02-2013, 02:24 AM
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This is awesome.
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Old 12-02-2013, 12:14 PM
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Only a couple more posts away from being up to date then comes pictures of all the crap I have waiting to go on the car lol.

Originally Posted by EricB View Post
wow, thanks for posting a thread. Inspires me to do my first hpde and maybe move up the ranks..

though i could never hack up my interior and turn it into a race car. Bucket seat and a bar to attach the harness to is as much as i think i would be willing to do.

I like your vents, i was going to get shitty hood for cheap and cut and insert a evo hood vent.
The HPDE track days are a ton of fun, definitely try it.

Originally Posted by Wolfe View Post
This is awesome.
Thanks!
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Old 12-02-2013, 07:11 PM
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So after Arroyo Seco I had the car down for a bit for some safety and driver comfort upgrades since I was starting to get faster and faster. I was absolutely sick of practically falling out the stock seat now that I was on R compound tires that produce considerable lateral grip. Also was sick of banging my head off the roof all the time since I'm so damn tall.

In order to be safe with fixed back seats, I needed to have a roll bar since in the event of a rollover, the stock seats can recline backwards but in a fixed back you can be crushed, as well as needing a place to attach a 6 point harness. (If you're considering a 5 point, buy a 6 point instead and your family jewels will thank you later.)

Now, I always get asked questions about harnesses, how they should be mounted, what kind to get, and I also see a ton of extremely unsafe setups that are being used with organizations that don't care about safety and have laughable "tech inspections". Which brings me to my next segment:

Safety Tips for Harnesses and Harness Mounting:
DO NOT USE A 4 POINT HARNESS UNLESS IT HAS AN ANTI-SUBMARINE FEATURE. The only companies that I am aware of that have Anti-Submarine 4-point belts are Takata, and Scroth. Now before you Takata guys are like "sweet, I'm safe and ready to roll then", their Anti-Submarine version is relatively new and is clearly labeled. If yours does not have the label, you are at risk of serious injury or death in the event of a front end collision.

See this video for reference:


Also, here is a diagram of how to properly mount your harnesses courtesy of Crow Enterprizes, who also happens to sell some excellent safety equipment with killer prices.



I took the car to my buddy Junior at Fathead Fabrications here in Arizona to fab up a 6 point time trials legal roll bar. I will probably later expand this into a full cage if I get going much faster... but for what I'm doing with the car a full cage is not required.

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Anyways. I got some Crow Enterprizes 6 point harnesses with sewn in shoulder pads. Purple is for the RX-8 and blue ones are for the Miata.

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Sparco Circuit II seat with Halo head restraints, for the big and tall driver...

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Seat installed, it's just bolted on a set of two plates of metal that were welded in, attached to standard side mount seat bracket and that's it. As low as you can get in this car. Steering wheel setup needs to be adjusted but I can still push the clutch down all the way. Great for weight distribution when you're practically driving from the back seat lol.

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New seating position. I am 6'5" and 250lbs... I can now barely see over the dash or out the side windows. AWESOME!

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NRG Gen 2.0 Quick Release, it's the tallest one they have to move the steering wheel closer. Purple and Neo-Chrome for extra mad tyte JDM ricer points. Also ordered up a Momo Hub Adapter and Momo Mod.08 Suede wheel which has a 90mm dish and 330mm diameter if I remember correctly. I am going to also have to add another like 1" or 2" spacer to move the wheel even closer as well as putting spacers on the steering column to move the wheel downwards more.



Installed:

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Old 12-02-2013, 08:49 PM
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Kind of a little side adventure here, but getting around at the track in the pits was getting annoying just being on foot all the time, especially at larger tracks. I would see everyone zipping past me on small pit bikes and gopeds and bicycles etc, so I picked up a non-running GoPed Sport that is very portable and easy to use for 80 bucks from a friend. After putting about 160 bucks into it (I got a little carried away) it was set to go. All you have to do to start it is jump on and push since it is a direct drive spindle driven type, if the motor is running the wheels are turning.

Also makes for great entertainment during drunken pit vehicle races and burnout competitions at the away tracks while camping/partying at night.

This thing is from 1992, still has the original motor and still runs like a champ. The only grief it gives me is at higher elevation tracks where it runs too rich, the jets in the carb are just too big even after messing with the adjustment needles. Maybe needs some new exhaust or something... LOL.

Stuff I bought/Modded:
New HP Carb
Velocity Stack
K&N Filter
Sprayed Deck with Truck Bed Liner
Black Magic 0.650 Extended Spindle
DDM 3rd Bearing Support
New Gas Tank and Lines
New Spark Plug
DDM Sticker for Extra HP

Before:

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Old 12-02-2013, 11:12 PM
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So anyways, I've got all these new mods in, can't wait to try them out. Next track day is set. October, 2012 at Inde Motorsports Ranch.

I've been running on second hand tires for awhile now at this point, anything I could get my hands on. I finally decided to treat myself to some new meats for what was shaping up to be another glorious track weekend. Got everything set to go, got the new seat and harness to try out, the new steering wheel setup, brand spankin' new tires, and new pimped out pit transportation. I was ready to slay TA-A class in the UMS Tuning Time Attack, I've never gotten a first place before and the competition was going to be fierce.

What I was used to:

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New meats, NT01 goodness, SIZE BIG.

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Out on track. Driving with the new seat and harness was amazeballs. After a track weekend my arms and shoulders and sides would all be sore from hanging off the wheel all weekend but driving was now effortless. The biggest difference was how much better I could feel the car. I could drive right up at the limit with confidence now and know exactly when I pushed the car too far and could feel everything that the car was doing. The rollbar also helped stiffen up the car and was very noticeable.

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And here is my car in the Time Attack impound while everyone anxiously awaits results. The NSX there in the picture is an unlimited competitor and is packing some heat. It puts out over 600 to the ground.

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Reading the results they start from last place and work their way to first, and we had made it all the way to third place and I still hadn't heard my name. When they announced the second place winner, it still wasn't me and I knew I had gotten my first win in the UMS Tuning Time Attack Series.

Some of the time attack family from an event a ways back. I'm the tall guy in the middle haha.

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Now for the bad news. The reason I posted that picture above with the hood open. You see that faint line about halfway up the hood on the inside? It's kind of tough to see, but that's oil. Oil was everywhere, splattered all over the engine bay. When I had come off track there was a decent amount of smoke coming out of my passenger side hood vent and it was oil smoking off of the header heat shield. I later found out that the front main seal would leak oil like mad if you took it over 6000RPM and the e-shaft pulley and position gear would fling it everywhere. This is when I knew the engine had to come out. I wanted to do a preventative rebuild and try to regain some of my power back with a fresh build so I could be more competitive.

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Fast forward a couple months and we have this:

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Also I broke the god damn nipple on the radiator that everyone breaks. It seriously disintegrated when I moved the hose just a tiny bit. Whatever, I wanted a new radiator anyways.

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Unfortunately this is also where the story basically grinds to a halt for one year. Life, work, lack of funds, lack of motivation and the fact that I could drive my dad's Miata at the track now all contributed to me letting the car sit in its depressing state in the garage.

But the good news is, I've finally amassed all the parts I wanted so the RX-8 can hopefully make an epic comeback to the track. So the next posts will be outlining some plans and then we are pretty much caught up to present time.

Let the fun begin.
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Old 12-02-2013, 11:12 PM
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finally, seat pics. i guess purple is a favorite of yours.
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Old 12-03-2013, 12:30 AM
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Originally Posted by yomomspimp06 View Post
finally, seat pics. i guess purple is a favorite of yours.
Yeah super exciting stuff hahaha.

And when I ordered the belts I thought what the hell and then some more purple accents started popping up from there. I've always like the color and it's my birth stone, amethyst.
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Old 12-03-2013, 02:00 AM
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Good read, I know the feeling when your car is off the road for long periods of time
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