Sunny Diary - Page 5

Page 5!!!! When is this going to be over!!(16/12/04)
I never would have thought that this build up would take over 2 years and take more than 5 very long web pages to cover! Ignorance is bliss.

Anyway......more progress has been made, and the good news is.....the engine is now running!!!! With some fine tuning to set the timing, and also adding a little more fuel to keep the beast happy, the engine is now idling relatively smoothly at just on 1,000rpm. The throttle response is quite amazing, I guess that's a lot to do with the lightweight clutch and flywheel assembly, but just the lightest touch of the throttle and the revs jump to 3,000rpm at the blink of an eye.

Of course nothing is ever easy, and it seems that we have some kind of problem with the clutch. When the car is in gear, and the clutch depressed everything seems ok. As you slowly let the clutch out, and it reaches the friction point a horrible grinding/shrieking sound is emmitted from the clutch. The sound goes away as the clutch is fully engaged. To test this, I put the back of the car up on stands, and let the clutch out with the engine running and the car in gear. The grinding sound was still there as the clutch engaged, but once the clutch was fully engaged, the sound is gone. Some people have said that this is normal for a twin plate clutch - however my paranoia has gotten the better of me, so before I take the car to the dyno, I will be dropping the gear box out inspecting the clutch for any obvious damage.

This will be the last update for 2004 - To all those who have been following the build up, have a great Christmas and a safe New Year. Stay tuned in 2005, as we plan to be on the dyno by mid to late January, and hopefully on the track for our first test day by the end of January or early February.

Happy New Year! - The year of completion! Well, I am back from holidays, and work has already begun in earnest to get the car on track and testing ASAP. We are currently working on how to remove the gearbox from the car without having to remove the entire engine. There simply is not enough room to slide the gearbox off the back of the engine, due to transmission tunnel clearance. As a result, we intend to use the same method we used in the Datsun 1600. That is to make up some long bolts for the engine crossmember, and lower the engine down far enough to then give us the clearance we need to pull the box out. Once we get the gearbox out, we should be able to see whate has been casuing the horrible noise as the clutch engages. At this stage, I am hoping it's simply a thrust bearing problem.

On another front the second pair of wheels has just arrived, and I got them on the car last night. Now with the wheels on the car, I can see that the guards will need a little more work to allow for the clearance of the larger tyres. So it will be off to Cess (our panel beater) to have the guards massaged a little further as soon as we get the gearbox issue sorted out.

That's all the news I have for are a couple of pics taken just prior to Christmas.

Left: Shows minimal clearance from the back of the head to the firewall.

Right: The car sits more level since this shot. It now has 15" rims on the front also.

Further Update 17/1/05)
The plan now is to work on the car everyday, even if it means simply picking up some parts. The idea being, that if I get something done evry day, we are moving forward every day. That said, Over the weekend I spent a good few hours making the bracket required to mount the dash properly. It is now mounted very solidly, and no matter how many ripple strips I hit, The dash will not be falling onto my lap.

I also picked up some fake Carbon fibre film to cover parts of the dash. As the main part is made from a sheet of aluminium, I thought covering it in the fake carbon fibre would give that "racing" look, but more importantly, it will stop the sun reflecting off it straight into my eyes! Also, there are a number of holes on the dash where heater controls and warning lights once were. Our rules dictate that these holes need to be filled. Originally I was going to use alloy plates to cover the holes....but then I thought about this carbon fibre film....which will cover the whole dash...including the holes, and is much lighter than any alloy plates I had originally planned to use. More updates in the coming days.

Noise Located! 20/1/05)
It took some looking, but eventually I got hold of some long (150mm) bolts to use in the engine crossmember. This allowed me to temporarily lower the engine, within the engine bay which gives us the room to remove the gearbox. Sounds simple doesn't it? FAR FROM IT!

To perform this little trick, I had to; disconnect intercooler plumbing, disconnect top radiator hose, remove sway bar, move alternator, remove lower control arms, remove steering linkages and disconnect the fuel line. With all this done, I could install the longer bolts, and lower the engine. Once the engine was in position the gearbox was easily removed. The whole process taking about 3.5 hours, on my own.

Once I had the gearbox out, I could start looking for the cause of the grinding noise which was eminating from around the clutch area. Firstly, I checked the Thrust bearing, it was perfect. Next I removed the clutch, and in doing so found the problem.

When I had the clutch rebuilt, they also skimmed the flywheel. The new clutch plates have larger rivets than the old ones, and this combined with a slightly lower deck height on the flywheel has resulted in the clutch plate rivets hitting the flywheel bolts! So it's off to the machine shop tonight to try and rectify the problem. After speaking with Stew Wilkins (GURU), we will take 1mm off the head of each bolt, and 1mm from the mounting surface of the flywheel. The only thing we will need to be careful of is the length of the flywheel bolts. The bolts may need to be shortened after we machine the mounting face of the flywheel.

At this stage, we are looking good to have the car back together on Saturday, and I have organised to drop the car off to the Panel beater on Sunday evening to have the guards "massaged" a little further. All being well, I hope to have the car on the Dyno by early February.

Problem fixed - we hope. (21/1/05)
Last night I went to the workshop of One Stop Engineering (0412 030 795) and Damien got the problem sorted for me. After initially thinking we might need to machine the flywheel, we started by taking 2mm off the head of each flywheel bolt. Luckily, about 1.5mm of this was a thin ridge around the outside of the bolt head. Essentially, we have removed the ridge, and also some numbers which were raised from the bolt head surface, and a just the smallest fraction skimmed from the main part of the bolt head. Damien assures me this process has not weakend the bolt's strength, but warned that I will need to be careful when installing the bolts as there is less "meat" for the socket/spanner to grip to.

Tonight I have organised for my two brothers to come over for a BBQ - on the basis that they help me lift the gearbox back into the car - nothing's free in this world! So our plan is to install just the gearbox tonight, and then tomorrow I will put the rest of the car back together. Once that is done, I will be able to fire up the engine once again and double check the clutch operation.

I'll try to remember to get some pics tonight!

All up and running - WOOHOO! (23/1/05)
I spent yesterday afternoon putting the car back together, and could not have done it without the help from my brother. Simply lifting the gearbox from the ground up in to the car would simply not have been possible on my own. Once the gearbox was back in, I got the rest of the steering, suspension, fuel lines, intercooler piping and radiator hose all re-connected and fired her up. The clutch now works perfectly!

So everything is going to plan (for a change!). Tonight I will be dropping the car off the Cess, our panel beater, to have the guards re-worked for the bigger wheels. I have also spoken to Tony at Essex St Smash Repairs (Minto) and booked the car in to have the new guard work painted. Hopefully it should only be the front guards, and he will only need the car for a couple of days - fingers crossed.

So for the next few days at least, there really isn't too much I can do to the car, as it will be with Cess. I'll update the site (with pics - I promise) once I ge the car back from Cess. Until then......

Got the car back! (26/1/05)
Cess from RPG was able to get he work completed faster than first anticipated and I was able to pick the car up tonight! This has helped in a number of ways, firstly, I have booked the car in with Tony at Essex Street Smash Repairs to have the front guards re-painted. The car will go to him tomorrow night, and be there a couple of days. Hopefully it will be ready to pick up on the weekend. Also, I have taken the plunge and booked the car in with Stewart Wilkins (Stewart Wilkins Motorsport). It will be place on the dyno, and run in for about an hour. After that....assuming everything goes ok, they will set the final tune. There shouldn't be too much work required for the tune, as the engine is running on it's original Map anyway. The main thing will be to check mixtures...and also to see if there will be much difference between running Avgas and running Premium Umleaded. I am hoping to run the Unleaded fuel without too much sacrifice in power. The reasons for this are that I believe CAMS will outlaw the use of leaded fuels later this year which will force everyone to re-tune their cars. Also, Unleaded fuels are cheaper, and also more readily available. I will talk to Stew more about this prior to getting out there......if he thinks we can go for unleaded, then that's what we will do.

So once I get the car back from the paint shop...I will be spending all week making sure the car is 100% mechanically, to avoid any trouble and costly bills while we are on the Dyno. I will update the site again once the car has been run on the dyno.

Dyno this week! (31/1/05)
With Dyno day (D-day) fast approaching, I spent the weekend going over the car to make sure we were set to go. In doing this, I have noticed that the alternator is overcharging, so I need to look into this further. After Speaking to Anton (Anton's Race Electric's), he suggested checking the fuses, as some alternators overcharge when the fuse is blown. I will be doing this tonight. It's imperitive that I get it fixed up tonight, as I am busy each night for th rest of the week, and will not have any time to work on the car.

Also on the weekend, I received the front guards back from Tony (Essex St. Smash repairs). I spent yesterday afternoon re-assembling the front guards, lights and bumper and now the car is looking great again. As well as the guards, I have installed the new Hawke brake pads (front), and checked the steering, in particular - the tie rods. What I have found is that the tie rods are a bit short for my liking, so they will need to be replaced with slightly longer ones. This is due to the lower control arm pivot points being moved further outwards in the crossmember.

Fingers crossed for Friday....I'll report back with the results, assuming there are no problems.

Quick Update(1/2/05)
After some searching last night, we finally discovered the cause of the "over charging" alternator. I was about to give up, and remove the alternator from the car so that I could get it tested...not something I wanted to time is getting away. Before doing so, I rang Anton (Anton's Race Electric's) to discuss the situation. His suggestion turned out to be VERY good. He suggested that I plug the laptop in and check what voltage the Motec was seeing, upon doing this I noticed thatthe Motec was recording 14.5v - Perfect! The VDO gauge is reading slightly higher at 15v. This simple little check saved me time and money having the alternator checked - Thanks Anton!

In other good news, I have had confirmed for me today that I will be racing under number 55 in 2005! WOOHOO...that's the same number we ran on the 1600, so I am very pleased about that. Until next time............

Dyno Completed (17/2/05)
The Dyno tune went very well, and although we are a little down on the horsepower figure we were aiming for, we have a plan in place to acieve the required horsepower over the next few months. The most important part was that the engine did everything it was supposed to do. No major leaks, or problems, temperatures stayed exactly where we wanted them and the engine performed very well. The problem we have is that although we have some great parts in/on the engine, they are being dramatically hampered by the restrictor. Essentially the Camshafts and the turbo are too big. This results in boost hitting at 3,800rpm with another surge at 5,000rpm when the cams kick in...this would be great if we could rev the engine out to 8,000rpm, however just after 6,000rpm the restrictor kicks in and the power curve hits the wall. This means we have a very narrow band of power to work with. The plan is to change the Cams and turbo while also adding the water injection we always had planned. The aim is to see full boost at 2,500rpm and a much flatter torque curve!

With the engine tuned, I removed the diff for baffling (again). I have spoken with the Damien from One Stop Engineering this morning and it should be ready on Friday. The goal is to get the diff back in the car this weekend.

Once the diff is back in, we will put in some longer tie rods, new Noltec adjustable strut tops and have a sway bar made. While this is all happening, I will add a window net, tailshaft loop and tow hooks and then we will be ready for the first test day. At this stage, I am aiming for a test day early March.

I will add some photo's as soon as I get the chance.

Our First Event (17/2/05)
I am Happy to announce that the car will be entered in the 2005 Datsun Nationals to be held in Goulburn NSW over the Easter Weekend. This comprises a show on the Saturday and a track day on the Sunday. The track day includes a Hill Climb in the morning, a regularity and a supersprint. Technically this will be the first competitive event for the new car, and we are really looking forward to it.

After that, I are aiming to do my CAMS licence test on the 8th April at Eastern Creek, and hopefully enter the second round of the NSW state racing series to be held on the 9th/10th April, also at Eastern Creek. After this race meeting, the head willcome off the engine and new camshafts and springs fitted. Hopefully this will help produce power a little earlier in the rev range. Until next time............

Progress pics (21/2/05)
Here is a pic of the cat at Stewart Wilkins Dyno. Everything went very well, and since then progress is being made with leaps and bounds. There is nothing quite like a deadline, and after hearing about some test days which are happening at the end of next week at Oran Park, I have decided to aim to be there.

This morning I have been to have my medical exam done for my CAMS licence, and the paperwork for the licence has been sent to CAMS, I hope to have this all in place ready for next week.

Over the weekend, we got the diff back into the car, and I decided to change the centre from the 4.875 to the 4.11. After talking wiht a few people, it seems that the 4.875 may not get too much use, unless we do a hill climb or something similar. Below are a couple of pics, the one on the left is the baffle plate we added to the diff (notice the hole for the axle to come through), the other is the two Nismo LSD centres we have for the diff.

A couple of pics also of the car after we got back from the dyno. Over the weekend we made good progress, and we have a plan to have the car ready for testing at the end of next's going to be a busy week though!

Test day this week!(28/2/05)
Well it's getting pretty exciting, the car is ready to be inspected tomorrow night by an official CAMS scrutineer. This will finalise the log-book process, which is necassary to be able to compete with the car. After Tuesday, I will be adding some Noltec strut tops, and replacing the outer tie rod ends with new inner tie rod ends. This is because the inner tie rod ends are actually longer than the outers, and becuase we have moved the lower control arms outwards, the tie rods are not as long as I would like. By using the longer tie rod ends on the outside also, we will have more of the tie rod insode the tie rod end, making it safer.

After the strut tops and tie rod ends are done (Wednesday), I will give it a wheel alignment at home on Thursday evening, and load the car on to the trailer ready for testing on Friday. On our way to the track on Friday I have booked the car in for a professional wheel alignment, just to check on how accurate a job I have done at home. I am interested to see how close I am, and wether or not I will need to pay for wheel alignments in the future.

After washng the car yesterday, I must admit to being a little naughty. I took the car down the street (to the end of the block) and turned around and came back to the house. This is the first time I have actually driven the car, apart from on and off the trailer. Coming back up the street I gave it some gas, and it accelerated really well from down low in the rev range.....then the boost hit, and the rear tyres couldn't hang on! With the wheels spinning, I grabbed second gear and backed it off....then parked the car back in the gararge.....I had a grin from ear to ear....bring on Friday!

Test day completed!(17/3/05)
I know I have been slack in apologies for that. I am very pleased to report however, that the test day we had at Oran Park a couple of weeks back was a great success. The car ran very well all day, even though it was quite warm on the day. The only major problem we had with the car was keeping it cool. After 4 laps at 100% the engine temps would rise to 100 degrees C. This problem is the first one on the list, and we plan on trying a couple of cheap tricks to start with. The plan is to lay the top of the radiator back, and fit ducting to direct air from above and from the sides of the radiator. At the moment, the radiator is covered with an intercooler, oil cooler and also part covered with a front panel of the car which we have to keep in place. By tilting the radiator back, we hope to chanell fresh air from around the intercooler etc directly into the radiator in the hope it will work more efficiently - time will tell. If this is not successful, we will order a new radiator from PWR Radiators. It will be thicker and also made from aluminium for better heat transfer.

Other little things that need to be addressed are the oil temp gauge not functioning correctly (it only goes up to 50 degrees for some reason). We believe that may be as simple as a mis-matched sender unit, therefore not sending the correct information to the gauge. Also, the Lambda sensor is not functioning correctly yet, this will also be fixed in the next couple of weeks. For our next test day, I will also be adding another 10mm of ride height to the rear of the car to help avoid the tyres scrubbing on the guards. If this doesn't help....some more surgery may be needed.

The only other thing that is needed is a gearbox rebuild! Unfortunately the gearbox came with the engine and was an unknown quantity. It is very noisy and requires a rebuild. This will happen after Easter as we don't have time to do it prior to the Datsun Nationals in Goulburn over the Easter Weekend. I will be crossing my fingers thatthe box holds together for the weekend though!

Other future plans include adjustments in brake balance (we need more front end), engine power delivery (new cams are waiting to be installed), and new shocks front and rear. I am working with the guys at Noltec again in this area, and we have some externally adjustable (bump and rebound) gas shocks with external canisters planned for the future. All in all we had a great day, and we now have a great base to work from with the set-up of the car. I know we can improvements in the handling, braking balance and engine performance.....I can't wait for the next test day on Good Friday at Wakefield Park in Goulburn.

Our First Trophy!(30/3/05)
After two and a half years of building the Sunny, I entered the Datsun Nationals, held over the Easter Weekend in Goulburn, NSW. Part of the Nationals was a competitive track day at nearby Wakefield Park raceway, with a capacity field of 100 cars entered. The competition day consisted of a Hillclimb in the morning (3 runs) and a regularity, where consistency on the short circuit was the key, whomever could keep the most consistant times would be declared the winner of the regularity. In the afternoon, the full track was used for a supersprint (5 timed laps). Each competitor got three runs at the supersprint. The overall winner would be the person who was consistant across all three events.

After the Hillclimb, I did not hold much hope. It was very tight, and the Sunny was not at all suited to lots of 1st gear corners....but we did have a lot of Wheel Spin! I was quite suprised to find out later, that we actually finished 16th from the 100 cars entered. Next was the regularity, in this event your 3rd lap (of five) is timed, and your remaining two laps need to be as close as possible to this time. We managed to be just 0.1 seconds faster on lap 4, and 0.2 seconds faster on lap 5, giving us a total of just 0.3 seconds difference, and handing us 6th place in the regularity.

Next was the Supersprint, which was the part I had been looking forward to. On the first tun, I set my fastest ever lap around Wakefield Park, a 1:12.58 and we had the 2nd fastest time outright!...I was very happy with that! The second run I managed a 1:12.7, and the third run I managed a least we were consistant! During the third round, one other competitor leap frogged us, and relegated us back to third position, still an outstanding result for our first ever event.

It wasn't until the awards dinner that evening that it was announced that we had actually finished 2nd overall for the day, and I received the runner-up trophy for "Motorsport Champion"...I was blown away!

The more time I spend in the car, the more comfortable I am feeling, and the faster I am going. we made some great suspension changes on Friday at the practise day, and this helped us go from 1:15's down to 1:12's. The gearbox will be coming out in the next week or so, and we still need to address the problem with the high engine temps - we have a couple of ideas on this one ;) Here are a couple of pics from the weekend.

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