Kimini 2.2 - Build Diaries
2006, March - April


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30 April

Following my buddy home yesterday on the freeway I got a chance to double-check the speedo accuracy again. After correcting due to it reading low, I wondered... So I just couldn't resist later trying one more 0-60mph attempt... and it just made it in second gear... giving an amazing 3.9 seconds. Dang! With a smelly clutch and hitting fuel cutoff, I feel sorry for the car. It would sure be cool to build an engine where I don't drop out of VTEC between shifts...

It was bound to happen eventually, the first Stop Light Grand Prix, in this case a 300hp Subaru STi putting forth the "let's go" challenge. So at the next light we line up and... oh, did I mention my wife was in the car? She happened to be telling me how I need to be real careful when I drive the car (having no idea what's going on), meanwhile I'm waiting for the light to change, mumbling, "Uh huh." I never start the race, preferring instead to let the other guy take off and I see if I can catch up... it's just the way I like to do it. Plus, if there's a cop around he's more likely to give the guy in front the ticket. So the light turns green and the STi surprises me by taking off as slowly as I do, perhaps planning to do the same come-from-behind thing. It surprised me because not racing from a standing start gives up the STi's advantage of 4WD. So with both of us side by side at maybe 30mph, he floors it, now lugging along his useless and heavy 4WD system as ballast. It was fairly even until the Goddess of VTEC arrived to set things straight, the effect being as though his car went, um, limp. Of course all I heard was my wife's frantic comments regarding my driving antics. I figured there was no point explaining, "But don't you see, these things don't happen every day, so when a situation presents itself..."

Chicks... they just don't understand.

A new diary starts tomorrow (but won't exist until I make the first entry.)
29 April

The Crystal Cove car event in Newport Beach was pretty amazing, there sure is a lot of money up there... I, my wife, my buddy Cecil, Dave, maker of the Norton Shrike 3-wheeler, and Jay, co-designer of the SUB 3-wheeler all met up with our toys. It was great meeting them and we had a great 3-wheeler discussion over breakfast, much to my wife's dismay ;). Kimini got lots of attention, all of it positive, though I did meet someone who was having a bad day. He didn't know what my exhaust pipe was and when I told him, he gave me the nastiest look I've seen in a long time, like, "What the hell do you know!" Butt-head aside, I have to say the SUB 3-wheeler was built to an amazingly high standard; the bodywork was fantastic, looking like it came from a real car company.

26 April

Looks like this Saturday I'll be attending the Crystal Cove car event in Newport Beach. A couple car buddies have been bugging me to go but I wasn't ready until the car was deemed reliable. Guess it's proven reliable so we'll give it a go. Another incentive is one of the designers of the SUB 3-wheeler (shown below) will be attending.

The other picture? I don't know much about the machinist but his work is incredible. It appears to be made of brass and stainless, about 10" tall, and all the joints work. Just amazing.

25 April

Other stuff has been keeping me busy but still accomplished some car-related things. Installed the higher rate springs and they're working out very well, the ride's still reasonable though about as firm as I'd go for a street car. Since the rear spring rate increased more then the front it'll be interesting how it affects oversteer. Firming up the springs has taken care of squat and nose dive, so now the question is how much lean remains. Looks like another autocross is needed to find the limit, to see whether it's too tail-happy. Took the car out Sunday afternoon for a test and enjoyed cruising up and down Highway 101 so much I didn't get back until late...

Curiosity got the better of me and the odometer reading was finally checked (the SPA tach/speedo's odometer reading is in a hidden menu) and it was surprising. How many miles do you suppose are on the car? 400?, 700?, 1000? - nope, 1360 miles - yikes! It's a good thing the car was finished before I started driving it, otherwise I'd still be driving it around unfinished; it's that much fun to drive. And the engine seems stronger than ever.
19 April

Reader Jim Stabe caught my goof yesterday, that wheel rate should be half the sprung weight, not unsprung weight; it has been edited to read correctly. Thanks Jim for keeping me honest.

Unfortunately due to being tired last night I still got the math wrong, using corner weight instead of sprung weight... sigh. That's what I get for rushing, but was able to cancel the back-ordered wrong springs and order the right ones. It'll be interesting to see how the car handles because the rear springs have been stiffened more then the fronts - if it's too tail happy. There was a fair bit of understeer upon corner entry which could be dealt with by the throttle. Now I won't have to try so hard... We'll see if it's too much. It's not a big deal and is fairly easy to swap springs, but it does cost money every time I change my mind. The irony is my buddy who designed the Rotus said no matter how hard you try to get spring rates right the first time, it always seems to take three tries to get it right. This will be attempt #2...
18 April

A few people have asked how Cooper is so here's a picture of him at the park. It was luck the shot came out as well as it did since he was running toward me. It captures his personality pretty well... other than the farting he's doing right now as I type this...

Been working on the suspension, or rather figuring out what needs to be done. At the last autocross it was clear the car was leaning too much and had also perhaps too much nose dive. Referencing the spreadsheet showed selected frequencies front and back were around 120 cycles/minute which (now) seems low. Talking it through with Dennis of showed indeed I am. He shared a rule-of-thumb that a high-performance street car should have a wheel rate approximately half the sprung weight at a given corner. Reviewing the figures showed rates need to increase 30% The good news is it may mean anti-roll bars aren't needed. Looking at the rear suspension/engine/links showed installing a bar back there will be a real pain. The front is much simpler but if they can be avoided all together that's fine. With the new springs it will lean 25% less, a decent improvement, but we'll see if it's enough. Springs were ordered from Summit Racing, with much better prices then the road-racing suppliers. If a non-road racing supplier has the parts it's almost certain they'll be cheaper.
15 April

Got up early, excited to go on the 100-mile cruise as part of the San Diego British Rolling Car Show; unfortunately we got some authentic British weather to go with it. Yup, the weather is still hounding Kimini, where Saturdays always seem targeted, this from

Isolated light showers will continue through 9 am. Areas of dense fog will restrict visibility in the mountains. Additional rainfall totals will be less than a couple tenths of an inch.

Since the event started early there was no way to avoid it. Not a good combination, wet twisty mountain roads, slick tires, no wipers, high horsepower, and a bunch of guys looking to show off, including me... seemed a recipe for trouble. Too bad, I was really looking forward to this :(

Having conceded defeat we went shopping, but first (with solid rain) stopped to see what British cars braved the weather. While last year there were 225 cars, this year there maybe half that due to the weather. There were quite a few Lotus Elises and Esprits, new Minis, and a few old style Minis. What was humbling were the remaining cars, Lotus Super-7s, Mini Mokes, MG TCs, a MG TR-8 and some Jaguars. Humbling because some were running topless - my hat's off to the drivers, made of tougher stuff then I!

In other news people have been noticing the V8 engine created from two Hayabusa sportbike engines, specifically the one from Powertec. I'm very impressed they pulled it off and several readers have recently asked, "why didn't you use one of these?" Well, the engine alone is $28,000, the sequential tranny another $15,000 or so... but it would make one wicked-fast car, that's for sure!

The front page will be updated soon. All the links will remain the same, it's just time for a clean up. A photo gallery will be added too. I must give a big thanks to Ian Davies who came up with a logo for Kimini, none other than Cooper-dog himself! Oh and I removed the Kimini Yahoo group... it seemed like a good idea at the time but traffic had dropped off to nothing. You can always contact me through the e-mail link here.
9 April

When Kimini was first driven the steering was razor sharp, steering input was immediately translated into a change of direction. Lately though it's been going away, almost too slowly to notice, but what was noticed was a growing "deadzone" in the steering. Because of the fast steering ratio that wasn't good, where with the steering wheel never moving, the car was beginning to "hunt" - turns out the U-joints were getting loose. The U-joints are held in place with a single lock screw, which was odd. A far better mount is a split collar where it's tightened down securely 360deg... not so with these. They are a good brand, Borgeson, so I assumed they'd work fine, which they did, sort of. Turns out just tightening the set screw isn't sufficient to securely fix them in place. Since they were wobbling about on the splined steering shaft (which they also manufacture) I didn't have much choice but to experiment; it was either that or replace them, and at ~$75 it was worth a try. A drill bit was used to "kiss" the splined shaft right where the 1/4" set-screw would clamp it, applying pressure to the shaft directly and not the spline tips. Doing this gave a much more rigid connection so we'll see how it holds up.

Next was fixing the cracked fender. The assumption was it was cracked all the way through, but it turned out only the body filler was cracked, not the composite! Well good, but it still looked bad, so epoxy was put in the crack with a toothpick then clamped down until cured. I'm vaguely considering cutting off a portion of the fender... not sure how it would look but if it's not there it can't get broken!

The last shots show where the front anti-roll bar will be mounted (modeled by the copper water pipe.) While I'd rather the bar not be so high, it'll be easy to adjust or replace from above. Links will extend forward and connect to the rocker-arm. Still not sure what to make the bar out of and how to attach the end links. Not a concern, it always figures itself out.

In other news, the next autocross practice isn't looking promising and it's not rain this time, it was me getting my entry form in too late! It filled up within three days of being announced, oh well.

Curious what it's like to drive Kimini? Today we went grocery shopping at the local market where they have the normal size shopping carts, but also these new tiny carts, holding one of those hand baskets you normally carry. My wife though I looked pretty silly pushing because it looks like a little kid's cart... but I realized, it's just like driving Kimini in comparision to other cars. That little sucker easily outhandled and out accelerated the larger carts, shotting through small openings and overall being much quicker and more nimble. It was a good demonstration... who says shopping is boring.

And finally, good progress is happening on the book.

8 April

Dealt with the leaking coolant tank. The Accusump cable was checked out next and does appear messed up; it still works but only just. I'm less and less impressed with Accusump in general. My shift cables run through the very same area with no problem yet the Accusump cable apparently failed due to heat. So here's a cable they knew beforehand will go into the engine compartment, yet they used heat-intolerant sleeving... wonder how much money that saved them... grr.

Attempted to attend the Escondido Cruise Night, getting there around 3pm so I'd be plenty early - not. Apparently a lot of hot rod owners are retired so they get there early, really early, around lunch time. There was no parking unless I wanted to leave Kimini unattended blocks from the main drag... no thanks. That was disappointing, I don't want to take off Fridays just to find a parking spot! Good old California... Anyhow, I went back later to do some good old fashioned cruising and they even had 50s music playing all down Main Street. The event was a little too successful as all of us got to test our cooling systems, moving an average of far less than walking speed. Finally a parking spot opened up so I was able to take a few pictures.

Kimini got a lot of attention, the last two shots are people surrounding the car. Older people looked at it and smiled, some knowing it was might have once been a Mini. Younger people would laugh and point, but then some of the guys realized the engine was in the back, and what it was. The girls? Well, Kimini was pretty much summed up by one, who said upon seeing the car, "Oh... my... God, that is like so cool!" And there you have it.

Looks like I'll need to set exposure manually next time as the automatic setting made some shots come out too dark. This Canon G2 can go to a 15-sec exposure but the automatic setting wouldn't go slower then 1/8sec. A tripod will definitely be needed but would be worth it, the night shots can come out really nice.

5 April

A few people commented how much Kimini leans in the turns. During the design phase years ago a target of 2deg/G was specified. It's leaning way more than that amount, for the obvious reason I haven't installed any anti-roll bars! I didn't see any harm in finding out how it handled without them. I worked hard to have fully independent suspension so I'm reluctant to start cross coupling the wheels. Of course if the car goes faster then so be it.

Inspecting the spreadsheet refreshed my memory about how the numbers were moved around so the roll stiffness target could be achieved with only a front bar with a stiffness of 112ft-lb, assuming an installation ratio of 1:1. However since the car is fairly neutral now it makes sense bars will be needed at both ends. With rocker-arm suspension at the front it's straightforward to mount the bar, but not so clear at the rear. There the engine is in the way of everything... perhaps it'll go along the main bulkhead, or above and forward of the engine. Then there's the question of how to connect to the uprights. The easy way is using the existing shock mounts, if a straight shot exists from there to the bar.

There's the question of what to make the bars from and since neither need to be very stiff, small rod or slightly larger tubing seems best. Then there's the question of the arms, whether to weld on arms or just bend the rod/tubing and use split blocks to mount them. I'll have to read up what's the best tubing to use so its elastic limit isn't exceeded (so they don't stay bent.)

On another note a neighbor was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. I feel bad for him but worse for his wife. Sometimes it's best to not know what our future holds - he hasn't been told, but she knows what she'll be facing for the foreseeable future: caring for someone who knows you less and less, worrying about them wondering off, wondering if they'll leave the stove on, having to do absolutely everything for him from here on out, especially since they've already taken away his driver's license. Caring for someone who you know someday will have no idea who you are, what you're doing, and won't remember you the next day. Yet we do it anyway, because it's the right thing to do. I can't think of a better example of love and devotion.

To end on a higher note, a coworker told quite the story. They were driving home from San Francisco, coming down the freeway. There had been an accident so they were detoured off onto a dark street in the middle of nowhere. Heading down the road, not a light in sight, and lost, they suddenly saw something orange streak down from the sky and "boom", land in the field next to the road, not 30ft from their car. A meteorite - no kidding. How many people get to see that? Unfortunately for them they didn't stop, freaked out by the whole thing, having seen too many sci-fi movies. Too bad, because that meteorite was worth $1000s...
1 April

The autocross didn't get off to a great start... yes those are two San Diego Police Officers...

Ha!, there's my April Fools picture. Yes they're real police, but they'd just stopped by the autocross to see what was going on, and were very interested in Kimini. I'm pretty sure if they were off duty they'd ask for a ride.

My buddy Dave drove down with me, he in his Honda S2000 which he also ran. Coming down the freeway it started raining, and Dave, who was in front, couldn't resist running his wipers just to bug me... bastard. It was all in good fun, and the rain drops on the windshield showed two things about the car. There's virtually no air flow along the glass! My guess is there's a big high pressure area right in front of it, because the drops never moved, not even wiggling! What was surprising was how fast the rain drops disappeared due to the heat coming out the radiator exit - guess that's working.

Arrived at the stadium and got all ready to go. Again Max and PJ of Max and PJ Photography were there to record Kimini's first autocross. Max is getting some well earned attention for his photography and is now selling them on line.

So, how did Kimini do? The short answer - very well. The biggest question was what would it do when the back end started coming around - would I be able to catch it, and be able to control it. The answer was absolutely. While unfortunately it didn't get caught on film, on one long corner I drifted the car all the way around. Great fun!

Of course there are various things that need taking care of, but the single largest improvement will be me learning how to drive autocross again. First run I overdrove the car and got a cracked fender as payback. That aside, there's the inevitable laundry list of issues:
1. The Accusump cable may have melted through - the push-handle didn't want to budge.
2. I need more camber, though the amount needs to be balanced against normal street driving.
3. The car needs anti-roll bars as it leans quite a bit... not sure if I'll bother, as much fun as it is.
4. The coolant header tank wasn't flowing into the catch container, instead going all over the place. It may be a bad cap.
5. Brake bias needs to shifted forward (the back tires lock first.) This is good as it means there's more braking available.

For this particular track, gearing wasn't great. The average speed was around 60mph so it meant revving the engine real high in second gear or lugging it in third. Of course Dave's S2000 had exactly the same issue so it isn't a big concern.

On the way home, pacing Dave's car, we found 70mph on his speedo indicates 67.5 on mine. That could explain why the cop was waving me down a couple weeks ago. The good news is I may be able to reach 60mph in second... (why this is important I don't know.)

Oh and yes, there is a video, taken from several vantage points. I rendered it to a higher quality then usual so it's a fairly large video (57MB)

30 March

It's been very on-again-off-again weather-wise but at the moment it looks promising for Saturday (fingers crossed). It's shaping up to be quite the event, with many friends and coworkers coming out to watch Kimini's first autocross. Being 20 years out of practice, driving a car with unknown handling, and being very afraid hitting a cone will do severe damage to the nose, I hope I don't let them down.
28 March

Here are a couple pictures of Kimini on the freeway taken by Max and PJ of Max and PJ Photography. The Pantera is my buddy Darrell, the two of us "sizing each other up." Max is probably tired of hearing it, but I really appreciate his support and interest. I never would have considered hiring a professional photographer to shoot the car; having him record the "first steps" of the car is very much appreciated. It makes me realize hiring a photographer to shoot your prized car is well worth it, especially before it starts getting beat up.

Lunar Pages, the host of this site, has increased bandwidth again! When this site began they provided 40GB/month. About a year ago they increased it to 100GB, and now they've gone to 400GB, all for the same price. I'm very happy with them, especially since they proactively take care of customers. The bandwidth increase is appreciated, since, this month at least, it was getting close to 100GB, and it'll keep increasing as videos are added. As I've said before, if you need a very reasonably priced provider, check out Lunar Pages.

Picked up an air tank in preparation for Saturday, along with a decent tire pressure gauge. With Kimini being such a small car there's not much room for equipment, not even a floor jack. A tool box, air tank, helmet, tape, camcorder, tripod, hat, water, extra quart of oil, and that's about it!
26 March

With the autocross coming up a coolant overflow tank was added. Shutting the engine down right after running hard means the coolant sits in the hot engine where it can boil very easily. I already saw the engine spit up some coolant one time after a hard run. And yes it's mounted to the Lexan as it needed to be high and because it was convenient.

Took apart the front suspension again to find what's making that clanking/creaking/clicking sound. Cecil suggested removing the caliper to see if it's brake related - a good idea. It was removed, the line plugged, and the car backed out on the street... noise was still there. Suspicion then fell on the wheel spacer, bolted to the back of the wheel. It was a real tight fit over the wheel studs and I wondered if it was flexing. So the holes were opened up slightly and the noise is much less. Don't know why it isn't gone completely but at least now we know it's nothing really nasty.

Lastly a switch, cable and connector were added to run power to the new camera system. I hooked it all up and learned how to use it; pretty cool stuff. What worked out well was leaving the camcorder on its hard mount up near my right shoulder. The camera is turned sideways and the viewfinder flipped over, making it easy to see what the lipstick camera sees, plus I can easily control recording since it uses a touch screen. Hopefully my brother will be at the autocross and help with the camera work.

I forgot to add yesterday my buddy Darrell drove his Pantera down to the car event. All day people were leaving the event and tearing down the street, then we both left at the same time, he in his Pantera, me... and my wife, in Kimini. The inevitable of course happened, us doing the "street posturing thing" each pulling ahead of the other, until we both really got on it. Meanwhile my poor wife, who's never been with me when such adolescent behavior was going on, was giving me, um, driving advice. I think she was a bit freaked both her mild-mannered husband, and Darrell, who she thought was a "nice guy", suddenly regressed into crazy teenagers. Well... yeah. After she gave me the "look" I of course gave the standard Brotherhood reply, "... What?"

Alright, back to work on the book.
25 March

What if you had a car get-together, and everyone showed up.

This was open house at Symbolic Motor Car Company in San Diego. It's about the only place locally you can buy, well, really expensive cars. I and buddies Dave, Max, PJ, and Darrell came down from the Carlsbad get-together and got an idea of what it took to get in when we arrived. You see, there's a guy at the front driveway who reminded me a bit of the Commandant in "Schindler's List", who looks over each car as it pulls in, carefully calculating your net worth. If you are deemed Worthy - valued at greater then ~$1 million - he points to the right, and you're allowed into the Good Section. As much attention as Kimini might have gotten it had nothing to do with my net worth - I of course was judged Peasant stock - and pointed to the left, essentially being sent to the mines, banished to park with the minivans and commuter cars. Walking in from the lot, I was tempted to ask a Security Frau if they were afraid people might like a car (Kimini) they don't sell. But I'm not bitter...

It was truly amazing what was there, a Bugatti Veyron (~$1,000,000 with 1000hp, no kidding.) Various Lambos and Ferraris, and I have to add nothing beats the sound of a Lamborghini winding up though the revs... literally gave me chills. There was the Spyker, with a mid-mounted Audi S8 drivetrain. This was the car used in the new movie "Basic Instinct 2". A Saleen with its turbo V8 sounded, well, lacking, in comparison with the V12 cars, however the copper/burnt orange metallic paint was awesome. My all-time favorite car, the McLaren F1 was there in racing trim (wish they'd started the cars...). Then there was the $178,000 Mercedes AMG SL-65, with its 600hp twin turbo V12. And of course the $440,000, 604hp, V10, Porsche GT that came in as we were leaving... it was all pretty incredible.

24 March

Alright already, geez, I make a small mistake about the tow vehicle below, calling it an El Camino and boy do I hear about it. Okay, it's fixed. ;)

I need an coolant overflow tank. I finally figured out the header tank isn't a total solution, as I saw the car spit up some water after a hot run.

Noticed the front tires didn't have equal camber... fixed that, but changing camber messes up toe, so fixed that too. Double-checked rear toe and it was off just a tad. Tomorrow's another car meet at Carlsbad - I'll take my camera.
23 March

Found this on the Web, what an awesome tow vehicle, and all it took was an old Eldorado and some creativity.

Forgot to mention last Sunday I came this close to getting a speeding ticket, but not for the reason you'd think. Coming down our main street I spotted a cop way ahead with a radar gun in his usual hiding place. No problem, I and a couple other cars slowed to just under the speed limit, I showed 48mph and the posted limit is 50mph. He then walked out to the edge of the street, like he was about to point me over. About this time I had the sudden realization I didn't really know for sure how fast I was going. Yes the tire circumference had been carefully measured and entered into the speedometer to calibrate it, but I'd never paced another car to confirm the accuracy. Instead of pointing me over though he gave the "slow it down" hand gesture, you know, the one that also implies you're cutting it real close. Well, 48 isn't 50, but I wasn't going to argue. In fact I half thought of going back and asking if he could clock me so I could confirm the calibration - but thought better of it; no use tempting fate.
21 March

The dream of an enclosed trailer ran into reality, it's just not going to happen. With that purchase cancelled, attention turned to what was needed next. With track-related events looming, it was clear a small camera was needed, one mountable anywhere on the car - this was the surprise I mentioned. Having promised a DVD also strongly pushed the purchase, so when my wife finds out about this I'll quickly explain how it'll pay for itself... I hope. So coming soon will be videos from vantage points other than the single hard mount inside the car, or from shaking hands, now it'll be from on the hood, fenders, wheel wells, engine compartment, roof - good stuff. I'm excited about it.
19 March

Took apart the right-rear brake caliper and frankly I can't remember if it was ever rebuilt. The piston looked good so after rubbing it with a light Scotch-Brite pad and oil it was reused, with a new piston seal. The caliper will be inspected in a few days to see if it's behaving.

When the car is driven for a while the center console gets pretty warm. It's either hot air rising off the coolant lines, or hot air back-flowing foward up the tunnel from the engine compartment, then up and out the hood vent. To find out, a piece of fiberglass home wall insulation was jammed into the rear of the center tunnel. Thanks to my coworker Joe for the insulation, though it makes me curious where he gets it from. A year ago he supplied me with a large piece for the main engine bulkhead, and while I appreciate it I can't help but wonder if his family is wondering why the house is so cold!

After fixing the brakes I drove over to my good buddy Cecil's place, who's on the short list of people deemed qualified (and skinny enough) to drive Kimini. In a couple places he mentions that I "actually finished the project". He's referring to his unfinished 3-wheeler powered by a 6-cylinder motorcycle engine. It'll be an awesome car when it's done and I keep beating on him to get rid of his time-sucking side projects, like his Porsche 914... but I digress. His input is valuable since he's an ex-roadracer, and has owned interesting things like a supercharged late 1960s Camaro. His video is here (22MB) and on the Video page.
18 March

Looks like the weather screwed me either way, meaning it rained in the morning when I would have had to drive down there, then cleared up. Oh well, I won't risk the car unnecessarily. To make up for missing out, and to still do something car-related, I'm spending a solid day working on the book.

Yesterday brake parts were picked up to rebuild the leaking brake caliper. Maybe I didn't rebuild it correctly the first time, maybe the cylinder walls are scored, or the piston pitted. I'd rather not buy a replacement caliper since the ones on the car had to be cut down to clear the wheels... it's that tight. We'll find out tomorrow.
17 March

Progress on the book continues. In some ways it's like working on the car, a huge enormous task that must be chipped away at, but progress is taking place. I'm trying to get everything onto paper; the goal being that every question has been answered(hah!). I can't really say when it'll be done since I'm still doing the initial spew, then there'll be lots of proofreading and editing. Anyhow, like the car, as long as it's being working on, it will get finished.
16 March

It's unfortunate, but Kimini will not be attending her first autocross, the threat of rain is just too high. Friday night is showing 80%, tapering off to 40% Saturday, and as I was scheduled to run early it just isn't worth the risk. It's bad enough driving a car on the freeway with near-slick tires and a rear weight bias, but standing out in a cold pouring rain chasing cones is no fun, and since the car doesn't have a heater it's no picnic. But, no complaining, I built the car this way and accept its shortcomings. There is another event scheduled April 1 which will be even better, on a larger parking lot promising higher speed, plus I'm working on a surprise that should be ready by then.

Here's a very cool video reader Pete sent me. It's from Audi and is a promo of their diesel race car. Make sure you have your sound turned up. I wish I could make videos this slick.
12 March

Hopefully the weather will be good for the autocross next week so a number of tasks were completed. The battery box lid was finally installed, years after it was made, but that's how it goes. The manual Accusump valve is in. The control end of the valve, behind the shifter, looks odd but there weren't many other places to put it. The choice was, when it's pushed down, should that be "open" or closed"... I chose open, because it can't get bumped closed by accident, it's even further out of the way when in use on the track, and it's obvious which state it's in. It can always be reversed later by turning the valve body around... if my over-analysis proves to be completely wrong.

During recent brake tests the rears were locking up before the fronts... that didn't used to happen. Turns out the balance bar wasn't staying centered between the master cylinder shafts, instead shifting to one side - and favoring the rear master cylinder. It was fixed by gluing spacers onto the pedal. I can't remember if Tilton supplied spacers for this purpose.

Removed all the windshield clamps and replaced the silicon with rubber pads. It's a good thing it was done; two clamps were wearing into the glass, just like what caused the crack, and it wouldn't be long before they started cracking too.

During some spirited driving today I finally found the limit - and it was good! First it starts to push, but getting on the gas made it smoothly transition to slight oversteer. It reminds me of a kart, in large steady-state turns it can be controlled between under- and oversteer very easily with the gas; nothing nasty, no sudden uncontrollable oversteer. Of course once out on the autocross course we'll see if it still plays nice. Oh, and while out driving I was challenged by a stock-looking older Integra - with a big wing. Well dang, since I don't have a wing it's clear he'd beat me ;), actually he did a high-speed "fly-by" then quickly took the next turn. I won't have raced him anyway... what's the point, kind of unfair actually, poor kid ;). Oh and then a fellow in a fixed up Miata was really giving me the once-over. I think he had something in mind, until he saw my engine, then he quickly took the next turn... but boy was it tempting. It's really hard to drive maturely in this thing...

10 March

The car show isn't going to happen, at least we're not going. Even if we went I can't imagine too many people bringing out their pride and joy just to have them get rained and hailed on. Can't imagine too many people thinking, "hey, let's go out in the rain storm and check out the car show." Oh well, maybe next year they'll not schedule it during the prime rainy season.
9 March

Been very busy at work - many long hours. After some prodding from a coworker I called a windshield repair place to check their price - $59 to fix the crack and guarantee it'll never come back. I really didn't want to replace the glass, never mind it would also need a black border painted on like the last one. So I gave it a go and it came out really well. They drill a tiny hole through the outer layer of glass which stops the crack from progressing. It was surprising how they filled the crack, holding an applicator of resin against the glass and it wicks into and along the crack in about 15 minutes. A catalyst is then applied and cured with UV light. It's nearly invisible and since it's hidden behind the rearview mirror I'll never notice anyway. Oh and while trying to remove the suspect clamp, I could see the crack growing! Kind of eerie how it silently advanced whenever stress was put on the glass. All the clamps will be removed, the silicon scraped off and replaced with rubber padding, and not tightened as much!

The weather forecast for Saturday's car show, since last Sunday, has forecast rain, but there was no way it could be accurate almost a week out, right? Surely the timing of the rain would move slightly earlier or later as the week progressed, perhaps even resulting in a clear Saturday. The updated forecast came out today, instead of a 50% chance of rain, it's now 80%. :( Oh, and the extended forcast says rain next Saturday too... when I'm planning to taking Kimini to the autocross...

One thing I haven't explained is why I don't want to drive the car in the rain; there's several reasons. No wipers, but I know Rain-X fixes that. No inner fender wells... that's a problem. The rain will get kicked up around the engine, getting on the exhaust and fogging up all the rear windows so I can't see behind, nevermind what it may do to the electrical harness. Then there's the sealed floor from nose to tail, great for aerodynamics, not so great for water drainage. The water collecting on the floor has no way to get out. Water kicked up in the front will get into the fuel cell where it'll sit and probably start rusting the inside of the steel enclosure. Having 200hp in a light tail-happy car, on sticky tires with barely-legal tread depth, is itching for disaster. And finally it'll make the car's windows dirty, which are a challenge to clean and not scratch, being Lexan. There you go.
5 March

Nice huh, the first failure of a part on the car. Very suspicious it started right at the corner of one hold-down clamp. The clamps don't actually touch the glass, being isolated by a blob of silicon... but here there apparently isn't enough; a lesson to leave room for the glass to move around. While I already have a new windshield (thanks Mike!) I'm reluctant to replace it before the car show next week for fear I'll mess up the install. (You know, "don't screw up... don't screw up... crap!") The failure mode shows it's not a torsional failure since the crack isn't propogating diagonally (yet!) Straight down seems to indicate it was "bent to death" rather then twisted - a good thing... considering.

Found some tiny dings in the paint from small stones hitting the rear fender flares; a stern reminder it's time to apply the clear 3M "rock guard" film, so it was done, taking most of the day. It came out "okay", could have been better, could have been worse. True to its claims, it's nearly invisible, so there's no point in trying to take a picture ;)

Good news on the annoying brake pads rattling about in the calipers. The fix of moving the tensioning springs to the opposite end worked - no more clattering! There is though still the mystery noise from the front, which sounds similar but doesn't go away when the brakes are applied.

Assuming it doesn't rain, Kimini will be at the "Temecula Rod Run" next Saturday, so if you want to see it come on by. That's if I'm allowed in... technically I'm breaking the rules since Kimini isn't a domestic. They accepted my entry but probably didn't look too closely. Since Kimini isn't a black sedan with flames, with a large chrome engine, and I don't have tatoos or (much) gray hair, the car's going to stick out. Still, I'm hoping it'll be allowed in because it does meet the spirit of the definition, having a big engine in a lightweight car, hand made in a garage (in the U.S.), goes fast, isn't that what a hot rod is? In fact it's probably more of a hot rod like they were in the old days, the owner doing all the work rather then dropping it off at a shop and writing a check. Of course it doesn't matter what I think... guess we'll see.