Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Saturn gets some attention.

So today I just happened to get some time to work on the engine of the Saturn that has been in my driveway.  I ended up cleaning for the most part but I guess it has to be done. Here is what I started with. It was driving me nuts so I decided to clean and organize everything so things will hopefully go together nicely. The engine had a blown head gasket and a damaged piston. The owner just wants to sell it so she wants to get it running for as little money as possible. I am going to put 1 new piston in it,  put new piston rings on all 4 pistons, install a new timing set and put new gaskets throughout the engine.  

 I had previously removed the damaged piston and rod earlier so the owner could get another piston that was the right size. I had to remove the oil pickup tube and this plate to get access to the other 3 pistons.
 Here it is ready for the pistons and rods to be removed. The rod bearings look good. Someone has been into this engine before because the oil pan was plastered with silicone and there was no gasket on it. I guess they figured silicone was the way to go. I hate trying to remove silicone. It took awhile to remove it all but I finally got the pan clean.
 I removed the pistons and rods and flipped the block back over. The cylinders look really good but I have been told to hone it to remove any glazing so the rings will seat. I have a buddy with a hone so I am going to do that as soon as I can get a hold of it.
I cleaned off some working space and got everything organized. It's always important to keep everything in their proper place when you are going to reuse parts from an engine. You want to put everything back exactly as they came out. I have the 4th piston and rod at work in my tool box. I forgot to bring them home.
This is a terrible picture but I promise the cylinders look great. There is no ridge at all and they are as smooth as can be.
 The new parts have all arrived so hopefully this engine will start going back together soon.
 This is a little concerning though. I filled up the valve area on the head with alcohol and as you can see the 2 cylinders on the right leak a little. I will clean it up and look at it closer to see if I can get them to seal better. If that doesn't work, I will have to get the head rebuilt at a machine shop. That's a real bummer and adds some expense to this build but we want good compression even if it's just going to be sold.
I have this project and 1 more that I have to get done asap. I am hoping to get them done and out of the way because I am already sick of working on them. I have a front beam to install in my bug. The weather was absolutely amazing today. I got Dixie to go for a cruise with me in Ed this afternoon and she wanted to drive so I pulled over and let her drive. She seemed to have a good time.
Hopefully the weather isn't just teasing us. It was really nice today. Come back and see how the Saturn turns out. You never know, You may want to buy it when it's done.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Cruise Home!

I said goodbye to St. George for another year. One of the best parts about participating in the mini indy is the drive down and back in Ed. I love a good road trip when I can drive a cool car. Ed performed flawlessly the whole time. Here he is ready to begin the journey home. I hadn't decided on a route when I took off this morning. I figured I would leave it up to how I felt along the way and what the weather was doing. I had 3 routes in mind when I left.
1. The same way I came down which basically runs on the west side of I-15 after Cedar City.
2. Cruise I-15 up to Cove Fort and then take I-70 over to highway 89 then up from there.
3. Cruise I-15 to Cedar City, cut over to highway 89 then head north.
I got to Cedar City and the weather looked crappy in the mountains where I had planned to cross over so I stayed on I-15 thinking I would go to Cove Fort. Well, I got tired of the freeway and decided to cross over to 89 on 20 which is the next road after Cedar City. I went this way last year and it was beautiful so I decided to do it again. Here is a morning picture before we left.
 I ran into a couple real nice haulers along the way. There must of been some kind of automotive event going on somewhere. These haulers were 1st class all the way. I couldn't resist a picture of  the reflection of Ed in the polished aluminum. I love this picture. The scenery behind Ed is just cool also.
 This shows how nice the trailer was. This is just the back of it.
 Here is the side of the one I was behind.
This one was in front of the other one. They were nice but I had to get past them because the vortices off semis make Ed get a front end wiggle.
 I stopped for gas and added a quart of oil in Gunnison. My GPS messed me up last year and it routed me around Gunnison. Dixie's grandmother lived in Gunnison and so I wanted to stop and take a picture of her old house.
 I missed it last year but got it this year. This was her house. Gunnison is a neat small town.
 I saw this old building with a great sign painted on it. I think this was in Manti. It's too bad they put this man door in it. It kinda ruins the look. I would of fabricated a cool door to fit the opening and that would of looked old to match the building. Oh well, it's still a cool old building.
I skirted around most of the weather throughout the day. I only hit small flurries of snow which was good because Ed has bald back tires. I was a little nervous I would hit more snow on the drive. I saw clouds like this all along the journey.
 Here is Gunnison Reservoir with some more threatening clouds.
 I had to stop to look at the Manti Temple. It's a beautiful building. I got a picture of this marker that talks about the temple. You can see in this picture some of the snow that was coming down. Luckily it didn't last long.
 These wind turbines always impress me on Highway 6. They were spinning pretty good today. This picture does not show how massive they are. It's quite a sight in person.
I saw the odometer turn over 5000 miles on the way down but didn't have my camera handy. When I saw it turning over all 5's I had my camera close by. Just don't look at the speed ha ha.
Tacor race team always comes up with some cool shirts for the mini indy. This was it for this years. They give all the guys on the tech team one. I think it's a cool design and I look forward to wearing it. It also kinda sums up the week.
Monday it will be back to the grind. Hopefully I will be able take Ed on some more cruises this year. I'm sure I can talk Isaac and Ellie into going with me. Who knows, maybe I can even get Steven and Dixie  to come with me. If we all go I will have to add 1 more seat belt. There are lots of projects lined up for the garage. I have some people waiting to get in and that's not counting Dixie's van and Ed. Hopefully I can get some of them done in the future.Just remember it's not the destination, It's all about the journey. Keep Cruising!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Race Day!

So today started out beautifully with a sunrise coming up over the bluff. It was RACE DAY! At 7:30 this morning 40 race teams got together on top of the bluff in St. George Utah to race at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour to see who would be the Mini Indy champion of 2013.
 The race started out like all major races do with a flag drop and the National Anthem. We had the privilege to see the flag brought in by a sky diver. It was awesome!
 Here is the flag ceremony and the singer did a great job with the anthem. Then the words were heard by everyone, "Racers, Start your Engines!"
The green flag was dropped and the racing was on! We race 4 heats and then the top 20 cars get to race in the final race. This picture shows the pace car just before he left the track as the flag was dropped.The front 2 cars were already bumping.
 Here is a photo of the drivers at the drivers meeting.
 This shows one aisle of the pits. It is always quite a site. The smell is unbelievable also because there is a BBQ competition that happens at lunch. Most teams are cooking something throughout the day for the contest. The best part is that you get to go around to all the vendors and have some of the BBQ. I have never been disappointed yet.
 All the teams are cleaning, polishing and checking out their carts before each heat. Here is one team taking care of their cart.
The Michelin Man showed up for the race. He didn't even get blown away or run over. I got him to pose for this picture with the Michelin cart.
It was all (well mostly all) business in the tech tents. Jerry is checking out the chain alignment and brakes on this cart.
 Here is the hauler that brought Tony Stewart's car in for the day.
 The Start/Finish line for the track.
 I had a chance to walk down to the wet corner. This is where a lot of the action occurs which includes spin outs and lots of bumping.
 This is the back side of pit row. You can see all the teams lined up ready for their carts to come in for their pit stops. The teams have to make 2 pit stops in each heat. The pit stop includes changing drivers, jacking the cart and removing and replacing the front left tire. There have been many races won and lost by the pit stops. The races are all timed from a transponder that is attached to each cart so they usually come down to seconds. If you have a good pit stop you can gain seconds on your race. If you mess up and have a bad pit stop you could lose lots of precious time. Check out that awesome scenery in the background!
This was the fastest cart throughout the day. It's Standard Aero and they were flawless in racing and in their pit stops. It makes sense because they were number 1 in the pit stop competition last night.
Here they are in action doing a pit stop. It's funny to see grown men and women acting like kids.
This is in the final race of the day.
Here's the dash to the finish in the final race. The checkered flag is waving and the competition for 2nd and 3rd place was good. AAR landing gears driver is taking out cones trying to get around the competition and get to 2nd place. Standard Aero was way ahead of the pack but you can see how close the competition was behind them.
The wind was on and off all day long but it never got bad enough to tear up any canopies. Right after the race was over it kicked up pretty good so we broke down the tech area and hit the hotel. It's been a great weekend and I had a ton of fun. I think that Mini Indy 2013 was a huge success and hopefully they will made lots of money for the United Way that will go towards helping many people in need.

I will be back next year for Mini Indy 2014. I wouldn't miss it! Check it out in a year, it should be posted here.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Sun, wind, oil and exhaust.

Today was Tech, Test and Tune for the Mini Indy. The weather was just about perfect and it was a day full of go cart inspecting  and fixing. Here are the tech tents where a lot of the action  happens especially on tech day. We drain and refill the oil, check the compression, set the air pressure on the rear tires and inspect the cart for safety and other necessary stuff that is required equipment. We also make sure the carts are not modified in ways that will give them an advantage. There are other things going on also like fitting bodies on frames and fixing other things that happen to be broken if the teams bring us them.
 Here is Embraer's pits. They always have a very fast car.
 Tony Stewart's car was here again this year. They fire it up and drive it around and they also have a simulator you can drive to see how good you can drive a race car.
 Here are some more pits set up.
Skywest puts on a banquet that night where they have some good food. They also judge the carts for the best looking, best theme, best costumes and they finish the pit stop contest to see who is the fastest. Here are some of the carts. There are some amazing paint jobs displayed. Most teams have a race body and a show body. Here are some pictures of the carts on display. Here's Michelin's car.
This is Texas Air Composites cart. It's a carbon fiber wrap.
Here is one displayed as the yellow submarine based off the Beatles song. The paint was cool and made to look like it was riveted.
 Here is a close up of the paint.
This one was a Grease themed car. It was cool. I liked the graphics on this one.
 Close up of the graphics showing an engine with dual carbs.
 More carts with neat paint. I know there are some big dollar paint jobs on these fiberglass bodies.

This car is Future Aviation's and took many of the top prizes of the night. The paint was amazing and the costumes were great. Of course the theme was The Wizard of Oz.
This was all hand painted and looked amazing. There was many hours put into this one.
The City of St. George's car. It is an all women team.
 This was a high metallic paint but didn't show up very well on the picture.
This shows how many people attend the banquet. There is a silent auction that goes on also and all the proceeds go to the United Way. The whole event is all for charity which makes it even funner to participate in.
Here is the team that had the yellow submarine car. They took 2nd place in the costume contest. It's almost like Halloween all over again at the banquet.
 Here is the wizard of oz and they did take first place in the costume and the theme contests.
I didn't get any pictures of the pit stop contest because I was judging it but it was wild as usual. Standard Aero took first place in that contest. Tomorrow is race day and it's suppose to be really windy. They race up on top of the bluff where the old airport was located and it is always windy up there. It should make for an interesting day. Hopefully we can have lots of fun and everything will turn out safe. Check it out tomorrow to see if we get blown off the bluff by wind!