The Landau Strikes Back
Two months since the last post...jeesh. You'd expect more consistency, more regular updates from the Captain of the storied Tunachuckers. Alas, this is why we race LeMons...because we're too incompetant and unmotivated to race anywhere else. Speaking of motivation, or more precisely, lack thereof, we've decided to Keep it Simple in our car prep for the upcoming race in Charlotte in September. No crazy 427 cammer engine swaps, no manual transmissions, no brake upgrades to speak of. When the LTD Landau was actually running (after we fixed the fuel system issues that plagued our first day on the track with the car- and probably the first time the car had turned a wheel in anger in about a half-score years) it was actually a decent handling, decent driving car. Decent, it turns out, it something our driving skills are not, however it is a quality we all do appreciate in a car. So, onward with decency!
Wait a minute...did I just type "Charlotte"? As in, "The Track Formerly Known as 'Lowes Motor Speedway' and now known as 'Charlotte Motor Speedway'"? Why yes, yes I did. While the Powers who run this traveling circus a.k.a. "The 24 Hours of LeMons" deigned the high-banked oval at CMS too risky, too dangerous, and too much fun for their crap can race, we will be running the infield course, and a little bit of the straightaway of the main loop. It'll be something like the picture below, including the green portion but not the yellow or blue portion:
What this means is that, for a fraction of a lap over the course of a weekend we'll be driving the same pavement as such storied NASCAR drivers as...well, um, that one guy, with all the stickers on his car...and...uh, that other guy, who, um, drives really fast? Herm. Yeah, I'm not really up on my NASCAR knowledge. My memory of roundy-round drivers pretty much ends with Richard Petty and Cale Yarborough. You know, guys who actually drove, like, _stock cars_, modified somewhat for racing.
Sort of like what we're doing.
Yep, that there's a stock, 1975, Ford 400M 2V engine. Planned mods for Charlotte: 0. Hey, it ran...and it still runs. Why mess with mediocrity? About the only thing we had a problem with was cooling, and we do have plans to address that:
Original Equipment, copper, brass, and lead, clogged with the same nasty Georgia clay that inhabited our old gas tank, radiator, OUT!
McCall and Anthony size up a new aluminum radiator (shhh...don't tell the judges!) against the O.E.M. part. Hey, close enough! We'll get the shroud mounted somehow, put the clutch fan back on, rereoute the ATF cooler, and it'll be _perfect_.
While on the subject of cooling, I finally got round to something I've wanted to do since we were driving a Volvo Amazon: add an air dam!
As you may recall, I've been building a new garage, and the steel roof was the most recent addition. Of course, there was some left-over steel, and it was the _perfect_ size for an impromptu air damn! Luckily, the LTD Landau came from the factory with a smaller air director, so this extra-plus-sized addition simply required a little measuring and drilling with the old one- and some self-tapping screws, because LeMons cars have to incorporate self-tapping screws for all important functions (it's in the rules)- to fit right up. All that fresh air being directed through a brand new aluminum radiator. We'll be SO cool!
Meanwhile, Anthony is our newly-minted "Chief of Lightening", the Colin-Chapman honorary position. While Mr. Chapman is probably rolling over in his carbon-fibre coffin thinking about our 4000+ lb "race car", every pound lost from the car is a pound less the engine has to move, a pound less the brakes have to stop, and a pound less the shocks have to damp. Here, Anthony removes several dozen pounds in the form of the non-functional HVAC stuff:
And here's Anthony in the obligatory Angle Grinder Action Shot:
I think that's actually him modifying the radiator support bracket.
We also removed more of the unnecessary stuff from the 30-year old, ill-contrived smog system. Like this metal can. What it did, who knows? All we can do is put it on a scale, and the rubber hoses and paper ducting that led to it, and know that at least now we weigh that much less.
Here's some more of the A/C system. A massive, cast-iron bracket, hanging off the front of the engine. Ticking the "A/C" box in 1975 must have added about 150 pounds to the weight of the LTD Landau. Hey, if you're cruising in Malaise-era style, with vinyl and velour and God-knows whatother combustible, petroleum-based synthetic materials ensconsing you, you gotta be COOL!
We'd already removed the compressor, condensor, and some of the lines at the last race, so we decided to s-can the entire inoperable HVAC system and maybe give our wheezing 153 horsepower plant a little less crap to pull around.
In peering around the car (the first time we'd really looked at the car in detail since the race back in May) we found a few other issues we'd like to, er, need to address, prior to screaming like banshees around the 1.5 mile track at C-lotte. We've got < 2 months to make it all happen. Parts are on order!
That metal can looks like the charcoal canister.
You should dyno this thing just because.
(found your blog after wondering for the past year or so what happened to the amazon, hope to see you in another volvo some day too though this is hilarious)
09/26/11 @ 17:40
"Whaling on the same old dilapidated crap can." - The "Official" Blog of the Tunachuckers Volvo Amazon LeMons racing team.
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