Monday, December 25, 2017

Return of the SoLoti

So yeah I got tired of blogging about how my car wasn't working... probably you got tired of hearing about it. Then when I finally got it working in September I spent all available weekend time driving it rather than blogging about it. I had a little bit of pent up racing to let out! Then I took on a new client and have had 1.25 people's worth of work to do...

So what's the story? Well, After waiting forever and then some for a valve tool to arrive at the shop that did the install of the head that was supposed to make it easier for him to check on the valve seals, I lost patience and took the car to MC racing, and they hooked up a compression tester and a leak tester, and whoosh... air in one piston and out the other... Clearly the head gasket was not sealing properly. Perfect proof that it is so very good that Nick my tuner at Ace Performance refused to tune with the car as I delivered it the first time. Kudos to them!

With this new information I contacted the original shop and they started pointing out that I supplied the head gasket etc... basically preparing excuses to not make it right. That sucked but there is of course enough gray area for them to avoid the work if they so chose. Fighting over it was clearly not a productive route to go, so I took it back to MC racing and for 2/3 the cost of the previous shop they took it apart, machined it, provided a head gasket and re-assembled it in working order. There's still a slight bit of smokiness, but nothing like before, and unlike before, when things warm up the smoke goes away. I suspect some things are not quite perfect due to the previous install, but now it's close enough that the thermal expansion completes the seal as the engine warms up. I'll be analyzing oil and keeping an eye on it going forward. If I ever go to high compression pistons, it won't be on this block/head combo.

Speaking of oil, I've moved to red-line 40wt race oil now that the car is a full time trailer queen and never does more than idle around before it's fully warm. In theory this allows a slight hp gain and better flow when warm, at the cost of a little more flow resistance (and thus wear) during startup. It's also the case that with a trailer queen, it is a lot harder to just bop on over to get an oil change, so I'll be moving to changing my own oil and brake fluid. To make that easier, and to help combat the flow resistance at low temp, I went to a Canton Racing  spin on oil filter which gives me about 3 times as much flow as the stock filter and 8 micron filtration.

I know what you are probably thinking... the man dumps umpteen zillion dollars into head work, ecu and tuning and he's blogging about his oil filter?? Point taken...  I'll get to the good stuff now.

So with it back together and (mostly) not smoking, tuning was possible, and the results are very pleasing indeed!

I never had a chance to get a baseline, so the above plot shows the results vs a stock plot I grabbed from the web and scaled to match. These numbers are a couple HP better than any other normally aspirated plot/numbers I've been able to find for cars running stock compression. And these are with the super trap on! Based on a single test run, there's perhaps another 2 hp in it if the super trap is removed. I only have good things to say about Nick's tuning, and Baer who runs Ace Performance was straightforward and easy to work with. I'm very happy to be promoting them on my wing plates!

The Emtron Ecu installed by Ace Performance has all kinds of super nifty logging and capability. No end of parameters to ponder! Below you can see the data, possibly even from the above photo. The slalom in the photo would correspond to somewhere around the 6000 second mark below, but I cant' be sure if it's exactly that run or not.

And I also got a beta version of CAN bus support for the stock dash, which so far seems to work great! Nick/Ace/Emtron will be coming out with new info on their products soon and when I'm allowed to share some stuff I've seen previews of, I'll post it here. Until then, we'll all just have to visit the garage, glance out the window at the snow and sigh... And comb through data logs :)