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Discussion Starter #1
I've participated in 3 lemons races so far and my tbird has been in two. Here's what I learned from our sophomoric outing last weekend at Infineon. We had one super rainy day on the track (~1" of rain, cold, and somewhat miserable) and one dry one. I'll post more pics when I get the chance.

1) Despite posting the 10th worst best lap time in our first race, Judge Phil would NOT drop us down to Class C for any kind of bribe. He says our chassis is simply too good. Would a SC or a V8 bump us up into Class A? Possibly. It's a safe bet though that any V6 N/A setup will NOT illicit any more scrutiny.

2) Our thunderbird is fantastic in the rain -- one of the best out of a field of 171 cars. It was a completely different experience to come up to a corner with a car ahead of you and actually have the opportunity to analyze how to pass them cleanly. It's clear that most teams spent their money on their engines vs. brakes/suspension (brakes are budget exempt but still cost money) and in the wet, it was unbelievable the difference in the lines we could take vs. the competition. I was terrified (esp when I started sliding past another car in a drive) but it was one of the best driving experiences I've ever had.

3) In the dry, our tbird still have a power deficit. We could still hold our own (esp through the corkscrew) and weren't going to just roll over and let people pass but our power band seemed fairly narrow (2.5-4K) and the car simply refuses to rev beyond 4K. I'm going to open up a separate thread about my plans to remedy this situation for our as-of-yet undeclared third race.

4) We had plenty more time to sit around despite bringing less stuff than last time (I didn't rent a 40ft toyhauler or bring a team of 10ppl this time). It's the little things that make your life easier though that you will only learn after hanging out with more experienced teams or learning the hard way (example: make sure your gas can's hoses can fit in your fuel filler hole; while you aren't allowed to modify the gascans -- no crazy pressurized fuel dumping system -- opening up the fuel filler orifice really helps) and I'm still seeing a few things I can optimize (like what new spare parts to bring and what extra little items to add).

Our top placement was 32nd (during the rain) out of 171.
Thanks to the stupid e30 driver, we finished 83rd overall and 23rd/56 in Class B.
We could have done better but not bad considering our impromptu race repair.

-g
 

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The v6 n/a just doesn't have enough torque to compete at the hilly Infineon track. A splitport setup wont boost the torque numbers enough to make it a difference maker either. If you went with an SC setup, I heard they get real hot real fast and aren't reliable enough. If I were to do it, I would go with a 5.0.
 

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I kind of figured the rain would help you out. In the rain, it doesn't matter how much power you have cause you can't really put it to the ground, so your only real disadvantage goes away.

Our cougar has always been put in Class B, and that is with a V8 and a 5-speed, so I wouldn't worry too much about them bumping you into A for an engine swap. If you do go with a V8 swap, I highly reccomend the explorer motors. Not only do they have the better heads and intake compared to the Mustang 5.0, but around here you can find wrecked 5.0 explorers usually for $600 or under, and by the time you sell some misc. parts off it and scrap the shell, the motor and all the associated wiring can effectively be had for free. Before you go into all that though, maybe consider a split-port swap. That would bump you from 140hp to about 190, and help you rev better up top while avoiding the unwanted attention of a V8 swap or the unwanted reliability problems of an SC swap. Does your current setup have a distributer still, or is it DIS? If DIS, that would make the splitport swap even easier because you wouldn't need to worry about distributer clearance. Also, since the car doesn't need to be pretty, hood clearance can also be dealt with fairly easily. Plus V6 mustang engines are cheap and plentiful, so there should be no problem getting replacements if needed. Also by keeping it a V6, you will keep your near perfect front/rear weight distribution, and so you will gain a good amount of power without losing any handling.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I kind of figured the rain would help you out. In the rain, it doesn't matter how much power you have cause you can't really put it to the ground, so your only real disadvantage goes away.

Our cougar has always been put in Class B, and that is with a V8 and a 5-speed, so I wouldn't worry too much about them bumping you into A for an engine swap. If you do go with a V8 swap, I highly reccomend the explorer motors. Not only do they have the better heads and intake compared to the Mustang 5.0, but around here you can find wrecked 5.0 explorers usually for $600 or under, and by the time you sell some misc. parts off it and scrap the shell, the motor and all the associated wiring can effectively be had for free. Before you go into all that though, maybe consider a split-port swap. That would bump you from 140hp to about 190, and help you rev better up top while avoiding the unwanted attention of a V8 swap or the unwanted reliability problems of an SC swap. Does your current setup have a distributer still, or is it DIS? If DIS, that would make the splitport swap even easier because you wouldn't need to worry about distributer clearance. Also, since the car doesn't need to be pretty, hood clearance can also be dealt with fairly easily. Plus V6 mustang engines are cheap and plentiful, so there should be no problem getting replacements if needed. Also by keeping it a V6, you will keep your near perfect front/rear weight distribution, and so you will gain a good amount of power without losing any handling.
You read my mind about the splitport swap. I don't have a DIS system so I will have clearance issues. I need to figure that stuff out (option 1 - spacer, option 2 - redo my fuel rail).

I could use some inputs about camshaft choices though.
-g
 

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If you get an intake manifold off a 4.2L truck, it will clear the distributer, but will have major hood clearance issues, so you would have to cut the hood quite a bit and build a raised portion to clear everything.

As far as a camshaft, I don't know all the specs on all the different 3.8 cams, but I would say for the purposes of this race, just run the stock split-port cam.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
If you get an intake manifold off a 4.2L truck, it will clear the distributer, but will have major hood clearance issues, so you would have to cut the hood quite a bit and build a raised portion to clear everything.

As far as a camshaft, I don't know all the specs on all the different 3.8 cams, but I would say for the purposes of this race, just run the stock split-port cam.
What about my original single port cam?
Bad idea?
-g
 

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I don't know, I've never tried it, and I couldn't find much in the way of specs on either stock cam, but I would assume that the stock single port cam would have less duration and a higher LSA to work better in the lower rpms, and I would think it might not give you the full benefit of the splitport top end. Without knowing all the specs on both cams, and checking for PTV clearance, I would figure matching the cam to the heads and intake that are going on the car would be the way to go. Unless you can find someone else who has done it and posted their results, the only way to know for sure would be to tear into the motor and make some measurements and see what you come up with.
 

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Year?

Hello

What year is your Lemons car?
What trany do you have?
What rear gear?
:2huh:
Can you use any radiator?

I have a C4 behind my 351w with 3.90 open rear gears.
Mostly due to track rules.

tbirdtess:wiggle:

No I haven't put the front swaybar in yet.:zdunno:
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Hello

What year is your Lemons car?
What trany do you have?
What rear gear?
:2huh:
Can you use any radiator?

I have a C4 behind my 351w with 3.90 open rear gears.
Mostly due to track rules.

tbirdtess:wiggle:

No I haven't put the front swaybar in yet.:zdunno:
* 95 Thunderbird 3.8L N/A
* m5r2
* 3.73 w/ significantly smaller tires (205/50R15) because Direzza Star Specs are the best wearing 15" tire. Calculated effective rear gear based on gears+tires = 4.3:1
* Open Diff. I have a traction-Lok pumpkin from our donor car but I think we'll keep the current rear end for now:
1) I think having 1 wheel peel actually helped us not spin out as much in the rain
2) I've heard varying reports of how long an unrebuild TLOK will last on the track.
3) It's a 2.73 gear so I'd have to swap out gears and reshim everything. I have plenty of other projects that are higher priority for now.
* Radiators come out of your $500 budget. Thats one of those shiny bits that would get the judges attention.

-g
 

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* 95 Thunderbird 3.8L N/A
* m5r2
* 3.73 w/ significantly smaller tires (205/50R15) because Direzza Star Specs are the best wearing 15" tire. Calculated effective rear gear based on gears+tires = 4.3:1
* Open Diff. I have a traction-Lok pumpkin from our donor car but I think we'll keep the current rear end for now:
1) I think having 1 wheel peel actually helped us not spin out as much in the rain
2) I've heard varying reports of how long an unrebuild TLOK will last on the track.
3) It's a 2.73 gear so I'd have to swap out gears and reshim everything. I have plenty of other projects that are higher priority for now.
* Radiators come out of your $500 budget. Thats one of those shiny bits that would get the judges attention.

-g
Hello

Is it a 3.73 or 2.73 rear gear? you list both.
What is the gear in the SC? could be 3.31's
I agree about the open rear.

I have used a radiator from a fox car.
dual row, but different mounting system.

:wiggle:
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Hello

Is it a 3.73 or 2.73 rear gear? you list both.
What is the gear in the SC? could be 3.31's
I agree about the open rear.

I have used a radiator from a fox car.
dual row, but different mounting system.

:wiggle:

The SC donor is 2.73
We upgraded our track car from it's original ratio of 3.27 to 3.73.

(knock on wood) but overheating isn't a problem on our car.
The misting system I built, the ducting/valence made out of election signs, and the monitoring system really helps us here.

The judges are big fans of repurposing parts from other cars. Even though brakes are budget exempt, for example, they'd rather see cars that take brakes from a fancier cars of the same make than cars with fancy pants wilwood big brake kits.
-g


-g
 

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205/50R15 on an MN-12, really? :confused:.

I realize that you probably have several hundred pounds out of the car as part of the race prep, but before you worry about the engine, find yourself some beat up 17" Jag / Volvo / Lincoln LS wheels or something that you can at least jam some 245/45R17 rubber on to.

I used to track my SC at lapping days, of the various wheels and tire combos I had over the years, the narrowest section width was 255 ... I can't imagine what the car would have been like with even narrower rubber, even if it was down on weight.

Sounds like you are gaining experience and having fun out there, nice to see some MN-12 representation.


cheers
Ed
 

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Discussion Starter #13
205/50R15 on an MN-12, really? :confused:.

I realize that you probably have several hundred pounds out of the car as part of the race prep, but before you worry about the engine, find yourself some beat up 17" Jag / Volvo / Lincoln LS wheels or something that you can at least jam some 245/45R17 rubber on to.

I used to track my SC at lapping days, of the various wheels and tire combos I had over the years, the narrowest section width was 255 ... I can't imagine what the car would have been like with even narrower rubber, even if it was down on weight.

Sounds like you are gaining experience and having fun out there, nice to see some MN-12 representation.


cheers
Ed
Ed:

* Yes, really.

* Our car, race ready (full cage, w/o trunklid and lights, full tank) but without driver, is exactly 3000LBs acording to the corner scale

* While wheels are budget exempt from Lemons, they aren't budget exempt out of my wallet. I bought this car with 4 stock 15" fanblades. I found 4 more for <$100. Even beat-up 17" wheels for another car with the tbird bolt pattern would cost more.

* Smaller tires look stupid but help with acceleration and we needed all the help we can get given our engine power deficit. Using my smartphone, I did some quartermile testing using both the stock 215/70R15s and the first tires 225/50R15s. The quarter mile dropped from 17.96sec to 17.05sec.

* Direzza Star Specs are THE recommended tire for Lemons... even with heavy cars. Plenty of other folks with heavier vehicles (Jaguar V12s, Crown Vics, etc) go with the clown car look and rock these wheels. There are rules about minimum tire wear ratings (must be 190 or greater) and these Spec Miata tires wear well and just plain work in the dry and wet.

* I defied conventional reasoning and went with Toyo Proxies 4 in 225/50R15 for our first race. The logic was that a TW rating of 300 would help with wear and these tires had a larger cross sectional width (and therefore larger contact patch) than the stock profile. The result? Severe chunking after 2 days of racing. They cooked themselves. We still have a pair as emergency spares but the other two I just ended up selling to someone for $10 total (they were just going to use them to hold a car up). For the second race, we went with Direzzas.

* Star Specs are ~$100-115/tire in 15" and $168 in 17". Even though the Star Specs can last another race day, why would I screw with something that works? Of course, had I won the lottery on Fri, I'd probably spring for the new shoes. ;)

* We have the suspension thing dialed in. As stated above, we did awesomely in the wet. Most cars in this series have really bad handling and we could out corner and out brake them handily. I'm not going to mess with a single component in this department (and this includes tires) except for stocking up on spares.

Would fatter tires help us? Sure. Is it worth the $$$ out of pocket and the additional scrutiny? IMO, nope.

-g
 

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My reccomendation on tires would be to do the mustang hub swap, get some 17x9 mustang wheels, run 13" cobra brakes, and some 275/40/17 tires. For the last race I found a set of 17x9 cobra r wheels with almost new sumitomo htrz2 tires for $600 on Craigslist. Even with the less sticky tires, the handling was greatly improved by having such a wide tire, and even with the heavy car we were able to outbrake almost everyone. Since you now have the m5r2 with 3.73s, that should be plenty of gear reduction. For the upcoming race we got some nitto nt05s, again in 275/40/17, so we'll see what effect that has.
 

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The Toyo tires chunked because they were full tread (I'm assuming) all-season performance tires, compared to the Star Specs, which are streetable autocross / track day tires. I've done LeMons and ChumpCar races, so I'm familiar with the tire rules for those series.

I ran the Star Specs for a few seasons on my crapper SHO track beater. I agree, they are awesome tires for the money, especially in the wet ... you should see how they work on a FWD car in the rain!

It sounds like you have the car working pretty well in the handling department, but as the budget allows you should really consider stepping up on the wheels and tires. Going from good tires made for a 2,200 lb. car up to tires sized for a 3,000 lb. car will likely be a pleasant surprise.


cheers
Ed
 

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I'm surprised you couldn't convince Murilee to knock you down to Class C. I worked for a spec miata team that used the Toyos at Thunderhill and they chunked on us too. The star specs are the way to go.
 
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